Kyle Kubitza, Third Baseman
HT : 6'3
WT : 215 lb.
DOB : July 15, 1990, Arlington, TX
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : Texas State University
Acquired : Traded from Atlanta Braves in 2015 (in exchange for Ricardo Sanchez)
Stock : Neutral
This off-season, the Angels made some strides forward in acquiring new prospects with loads of talent. Kyle Kubitza came over from the Atlanta Braves, and is someone you'll need to know about if you care about the future of the Angels infield.
Kubitza comes equipped with a nice swing. It has some uppercut tendencies to it, and comes through the swing plane with nice speed, all while keeping his hands high. This allows him to tag a lot of balls to the gaps with power. Kubitza has shown the ability to spray chart the ball, and has no trouble staying inside or extending his hands, and can keep the bat through the entire strike zone on every swing.
Kubitza is a little odd in the power department, because he has it, but the numbers don't really show. His bat speed and natural strength from his large frame seem to give you an idea that he can put the ball over the fence.
Kubitza really shines in the discipline department. He has a great approach at the plate, knowing he doesn't have to do too much, and really just find ways to get on base, whether it be a walk, hit, or whatever else. His strikeout rates kind of jump while taking a look at his statistics, but the majority of that comes from the amount of pitches he sees per plate appearance. A lot of this may come from better pitching and borderline, well placed pitches, but it doesn't really draw concern on our part when his walk rates are as high as they are.
Defensively, a few other questions arise with Kubitza. His numbers once again jump off the page as "not great" but his scouting report is above what the numbers say. He has quick feet and soft hands, added with a nice arm, helped by a quick release. He also really charges the ball well, and has above average range, enough to where some believe he could play other positions in the infield. It seems despite the numbers, Kubitza will be at least an average defensive third baseman in the future.
On the base paths, Kubitza is pretty on par as well. He's aggressive, which bodes well for the Angels organization, and is a smart base runner. He stole a nice load of bases while in the minors so far, but was also thrown out often as well. It seems he has slightly above average speed, and well above average speed for a corner infielder. If anything needs to still be developed to a more advanced level, it's his base running and jump on the paths, which could be the focus this next season for Kubitza and coaching staffs.
Out of the draft, Kubitza could not have been more rock solid in Rookie Ball. In his first taste of pro ball, Kubitza held a .321/.407/.475 slash with 16 doubles, three triples, one home run, 34 RBI, 36 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 44 games. In his final 13 games, Kubitza hit in 11, reaching in all, and going a combined 21-for-52 (.404), with a 1.033 OPS.
Kubitza had somewhat of a professional sophomore slump (not really) in his first full season, posting a .239/.349/.393 slash with 24 doubles, nine triples, nine home runs, 59 RBI, and 68 runs scored in 128 games. Kubitza had 27 multi-hit games, 17 multi-run scored games, 12 multi-RBI games, and 12 multi-walk games.
In High-A, Kubitza slashed .260/.380/.434 with 28 doubles, 12 home runs, and 75 runs scored. Kubitza reached in 104 of his 132 games, including 35 of his first 38 games. In the first three innings of games, Kubitza held a .326/.454/.546 slash with 23 runs scored, 25 RBI, and 30 walks in 174 plate appearances.
This past season, Kubitza rocked the Southern League in Double-A, posting a .295/.405/.470 slash with 31 doubles, 11 triples, eight home runs, 55 RBI, 21 stolen bases and 76 runs scored in 132 games. Kubitza ranked ninth in batting average (.295), fourth in runs scored (76), and first in on-base-percentage (.405), and walks (77). In 59 games from late May to late July, Kubitza held a .318/.436/.502 with 36 runs scored, 14 doubles, 34 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
Kubitza has done just fine in progressing at every new level he's been at, and has actually excelled at each new higher affiliate. He should begin his 2015 season with Triple-A Salt Lake, and be the starting third baseman, and most likely see a full season there. Kubitza won't need any callups to the Majors next year, even if injuries occur, due to the Angels new infield depth, adding Josh Rutledge, Taylor Featherston and Johnny Giovatella, who can all play third base.
David Freese's contract is over at the end of next season, which is ideal for Kubitza. If he keeps up his hot bat and quick development, he could easily be a rookie starter for the Angels at third base for the 2016 season. Kubitza hasn't shown signs of being a future All-Star, but neither did Kyle Seager, who he is somewhat comparable to... just saying.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.