The Phillies have spent some time this winter looking around for another left-hander to add to the bullpen along side of Rheal Cormier. Greg Kubes has to be like Arnold Horschack of Welcome Back, Kotter, wildly waving his arms and screaming "ooh, ooh, ooh, Mr. Manuel, ooh, ooh, ooh." Kubes is ready for his shot at the majors and is hoping that he can show off his worthiness this spring.
You've heard it before, but the draft of '98 was a classic. Greg Kubes was the Phillies' 14th round pick and he has made a steady, if not spectacular, climb toward the majors. He has two full seasons at AAA on his resume, but didn't get a September audition last year. Now, he'll look to make his spring audition count and it's possible that he will get an extended look.
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Acquired: Drafted out of Sam Houston State University in the 14th round of the 1998 Draft.
Repertoire: Kubes throws the basic compliment of pitches. He has a good, if not overpowering fastball and a slider that he keeps down in the zone. His curve and change-up aren't amazing, but he uses them effectively. The key for Kubes is control, location and mixing his pitches.
Pitching: Hitters have a tough time digging in against Kubes. He isn't afraid to pitch inside and he will keep the ball down in the zone. Occasionally, he tries to put too much on his pitches and gets himself into trouble. He has learned that hitters at higher levels can take advantage of mistakes and he has given up 36 of his 54 career homeruns over the past three seasons. His control has also been suspect at times, because better hitters lay off pitches just off the plate, where Kubes was ruling the roost earlier in his career.
Projection: One of the problems with Kubes is that the Phillies don't have him in a definite situation. Early on, they were using him almost exclusively as a starter, but have since looked at him more as a reliever. Long-term, Kubes probably projects to be one of those swing guys that can work either as an emergency starter or as a long reliever. He's a bottom of the rotation type starter, but could likely hold down that job well if that would be where a team would decide to lock him into. The Phillies may also consider him as a bullpen tandem with Rheal Cormier, only suited to giving them more innings.
ETA: Some believe that Kubes is ready for the majors now. He'll get a look this spring, but likely won't make the ballclub. He'll be at Scranton as somewhat of an insurance policy, although if they need a starter, Gavin Floyd would probably be their first choice.
Comparison: Kubes and Geoff Geary have had similar numbers and paths. Geary too, was a starter early on in his minor league career and was then moved to the bullpen. Not coincidentally, Geary was chosen one round after Kubes in the '98 draft. In other words, the Phillies will need a left-handed Geoff Geary in order for there to be a spot for Kubes.