Prospect Countdown #9 : Kyle Kubitza

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #9 : Third Baseman, Kyle Kubitza

Kyle Kubitza, Third Baseman

HT : 6'3
WT : 210
DOB : July 15, 1990 (25), Arlington, Texas
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : Texas State University (San Marcos, TX)
Acquired : Traded from Atlanta Braves, in exchange for Ricardo Sanchez, January 8, 2015
Last Year's Ranking : #6


When acquired in a prospect-for-prospects trade, Kyle Kubitza was the future at third base for the Los Angeles Angels. Following some off-season acquisitions, Kubitza now fills the role of much needed depth in the system, but not just at third base. He's now a versatile fielder, who provides some nice line drive power from the left-side, something every organization would love to have.


SCOUTING REPORT:

At the plate, Kubitza has a nice line-drive swing but has some tools to finesse to be a strong hitter at the Major League level. His swings get loopy at times, as he carries his hands high through his swing and creates a slight uppercut motion. He uses a small step as a secondary timing mechanism in his swing but has trouble finding consistent timing with his bat. When he's on his game and has proper timing, his bat carries through the zone with ease and speed.

Kubitza has no trouble keeping his hands in or extending to expand the zone with his bat. He also carries enough discipline in his approach to draw a high amount of walks. He sees a lot of pitches, which causes his strikeout totals to rise, but also gives him a shot at taking an extra pitch to walk and reach base in ways separate from hitting. He's smart at the plate, and with added experience against top-tier pitching, could be a constant on-base threat.

There's some raw power to Kubitza's game, added with his slight uppercut swing which creates loft. He's more inclined to hit line drives gap-to-gap, which will make him a doubles hitting kind of hitter, but the power should come. His power numbers haven't come in over the fence kind of style, but instead, doubles. His value will only improve if he finds a way to use his entire frame and muscle to drive the ball with more authority and be a bigger threat to hit home runs.

Kubitza has a large frame, which allows him to cover a nice amount of ground and possess some excess drive in his swing. In the field, Kubitza has quick feet and soft hands, while being equipped with an above-average arm, but shows some stiff movements once throwing. This may take him away from the hot corner over time, though that is his best set defensive position. The Angels have worked him out at second base and in left field, where his value increases, and he could become a much better option defensively at those positions. Most of his stiffness comes in the throwing motion, where it seems he fires back to gain full momentum in his arm, which would suit better away from third, despite his abilities to charge the ball - more to second base nature.

On the base paths, Kubitza is aggressive, using his above-average speed to his advantage. He isn't an extraordinary base runner and makes some mistakes in his jump while stealing. However, he fits the mold of the Angels' playing style and should mold well at the upper levels while on the paths. As noted multiple times, his baserunning skills will improve with experience on the paths, and with better coaching at the upper levels.

VIDEO : Major League Baseball

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

In his pro debut out of Texas State, Kubitza thrived for Danville in the Appelachian League, hitting .321/.407/.475 with 16 doubles, 34 RBI and 36 runs scored in 44 games. 18 of those 44 games went for multiple hits, including six-straight and eight in 11 games where he hit .426 with a 1.088 OPS.

Kubitza's first full season as a professional was very scattered, and ended with a .239/.349/.393 slash, along with 24 doubles, nine triples, nine home runs, 59 RBI, 68 runs scored, and 18 stolen bases. Each month was a new story for Kubitza as his OPS jumped month to month from .977 to .687 to .819 to .525 to .738 to .542, ending at .742. Kubitza gave left-handed pitchers fits, hitting .302 with a .871 OPS against them.

The numbers became more rounded in 2013, when Kubitza hit .260/.380/.434 with 28 doubles, 12 home runs and 75 runs scored. There was no better stretch for Kubitza over the year than a 22-game span in June, where he hit .338 with a 1.134 OPS. With runners in scoring position and two outs, Kubitza hit .320 with a .907 OPS, and collected 20 of his 57 RBI.

Easily the best minor league season for Kubitza came in his final year with the Braves, where he hit .295/.405/.470 with 31 doubles, 11 triples, eight home runs, scored 76 times and stole 21 bases. All of this in Double-A, Kubitza broke out as a premier prospect in the system, and saw his best time in May and June where he hit .341 with a .942 OPS, along with 14 doubles.

Last season was the first for Kubitza in the Angels' system and he made the best of his new opportunity, hitting .271/.357/.433 in Triple-A, and saw his Major League debut. In the Majors, Kubitza picked up seven hits in 36 at bats. His 43 doubles fell one shy of the lead in Minor League Baseball.

 photo Kyle Kubitza_HeatMap_zps7nejs2ha.png
 photo chart 5_zpsmx5yphnp.jpeg


EXPECTED FUTURE:

When the Angels acquired Kubitza, the plan was for him to take over at third base with David Freese hitting free agency, the struggling Kaleb Cowart in the lower levels of the minors developing, and no other true options. Instead, Cowart changed his overall game and is back in the picture, and the Angels picked up Yunel Escobar to fill third base. There's still a potential spot for Kubitza depending on how Johnny Giavotella handles second base defensively, and how the left field picture looks midseason, and if Escobar takes over at DH for a struggling C.J. Cron.

The picture now looks like Kubitza will not be the future at third base. He has become more flexible in the field and could become a bench option, or become a starter at a different position (left field / second base). The bat will be the carrying tool for him to complete his potential as an average, every day starter, at whatever position he lands in. There's still plenty of desire in what Kubitza could bring to the final mold for the Angels.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



Inside The Halos Top Stories