Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/16/1991 (2015 Opening Day Age: 23)
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 4th Round
Ranking History: NR (2014), #29 (2015)
Background: The Tigers 4th round pick in 2013, Kubitza tossed just 25-1/3 innings during his debut season. The Tigers assigned him to West Michigan in 2014 and he logged plenty of innings and improved his standing among professional scouts.
|2014 Stats - Pitching|
Body: Tall, strong frame; very good pitcher’s body; well-conditioned; some room for additional strength as he reaches physical maturity but significant gains are unlikely at this point; decent athlete; good length in arms and legs.
Delivery/Mechanics: Simple from rocker step through balance point; repeats that portion of delivery well; stays on balance; minimal effort to drive to plate; arm angle is at least high-3/4 and more often nearly over the top; good deception with arm speed and the way his arm comes across his body at the finish; can struggle at times to repeat release point; overall has solid delivery with deception and ability to make everything work consistently.
Fastball: Sits easily 88-90 mph; some reports of reaching 92-93 mph from scouts last summer; rarely reaches upper end of velo range; FB has excellent sink and some riding life; very difficult to square; induces plenty of ground balls; velo disappeared after freshman year of college and is unlikely to return at this point; pitch plays up because of strike throwing and impressive movement; works as average offering despite below-average velocity. Grade – Present 5/Future 5
Slider: Excellent pitch; bread and butter; relies heavily on SL and will throw pitch too frequently; pitch works mid-80s with regularity; hard, biting break with tight spin and incredible deception; flashes as plus MLB pitch right now and could consistently have that rating at his peak; legitimate swing and miss pitch that can compensate for middling FB. Grade – 5+/6
Changeup: Improved CH throughout 2014 season; still grades out fringe-average rather than decidedly below-average; has stretches where he maintains arm speed but other times when arm slows and pitch is given away; some scouts project an average pitch while others don’t see feel and limited growth potential. Grade – 4+/4+
Control/Command: Improved mechanical consistency led to more strikes with FB; commands SL better than FB; both pitches can be difficult to control at times because of movement; profiles as more of a strike thrower than a command specialist.
Other: Intelligent pitcher; can become too reliant on SL and benefits from pitching off FB more frequently; trusts his stuff and goes right after hitters with two primary pitches; limited room for future growth of overall game.
Summary: FB-SL pitcher that can induce weak contact with heater and miss bats with slider; CH lags behind; intelligent and continually improving his ability to execute delivery; needs to continue throwing more strikes; some scouts see potential for back end starter while more see middle reliever with slider-heavy approach.
Risk: Low risk; nearly finished product; will get upper-level experience in 2015; low ceiling player with marginal room for improvement/growth.
Projection: Fastball velocity is unlikely to return and below-average heater will always be second pitch because of impressive slider; has body and durability to handle innings and remain in the rotation; stuff unlikely to hold up multiple time through the rotation and once the book is out on him; profiles as 6th/7th inning reliever that could stretch out and fill gaps when injuries strike.
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