Player: Austin Kubitza
Drafted by: Detroit Tigers (No. 126 overall)
DOB: 11/16/1991 (Age: 21)
Height/Weight: 6'5"/200 lbs
Previously Drafted: 2010: 7th round by Pittsburgh Pirates
Kubitza went to Rice with a lot of hype, having been drafted high by the Pirates in 2010. He has been very good for the Owls, including 119 strikeouts in 93 innings during the 2013 regular season.
The problem when evaluating Kubitza moving forward is the way he pitches and where his stuff is. He tends to pitch backwards, relying more on his off-speed stuff to get ahead and mixing in fastballs. He also doesn't have the same fastball he once did, which hurts his stock heading into draft day.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Tall, lean pitcher's body; good athleticism on the mound; delivery and arm action project better in relief role, but lack of power stuff could relegate him to tweener role; throws across his body, leading to control problems; not likely to hold up in starter's role in pro ball.
Disappointing fastball right now; entered college with above-average/plus fastball velocity, now sits in the fringe-average range (86-90) from the right side; seems to lack trust in pitch, making it his No. 2 offering; some movement, but lack of velocity hurts deception.
Devastating offering; really sharp tilt and bite at the end makes it a true swing-and-miss pitch; has feel and control of it; unafraid to challenge hitters; overreliance on slider makes it easier to time fringy fastball; must learn to use in key spots rather than overusing it.
Doesn't show feel or trust in changeup right now; primarily two-pitch pitcher right now; will have to develop in minors if he wants to remain a starter; doesn't have enough separation from fastball to fool hitters.
Control is fringy, at best; crossbody delivery leads to high pitch counts and takes toll on arm; could harness some control in relief role but not likely to last as a starter; mechanics do help deception, though he must prove he can throw strikes.
Big leap to get even average command; dreamers can see ability to start, thanks to knockout breaking ball; realists are likely to relegate him to bullpen as one-pitch player with poor delivery and inability to hit his spots.
MLB Player Comparison: Craig Stammen
Projection: Two-pitch long reliever on first-division team or back-end starter in second-division rotation.
MLB ETA: 2016
Chances of Signing: 80%
Kubitza comes from a good baseball program in Rice, though it does have a bad reputation with regard to protecting its pitchers' arms for the future. It might be in his best interest to get out now while his value is relatively high.
Considering where Kubitza's stuff is right now, as well as the lack of depth in this draft, he should be ready and willing to sign a pro contract the second he is taken. He might think he can improve his stock next year, but given the way he has regressed, it could be a costly move.