by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Kyle Kubitza is not a name many baseball fans know. Even after being traded a few days ago, he’s more of a footnote than anything. That said, he was poised to be included in our Top 5 prospects for 2015 for the Atlanta Braves and will now be included as a member of the Los Angeles Angels.
Since being selected in the third round of the 2011 draft Kubitza has slowly climbed through Atlanta’s system taking it one level at a time. He spent all of 2014 at Double-A, hitting .295 with 8 HR, 54 RBI, 76 R and 22 SB.
Obviously the power, from a third baseman, wouldn’t excite you. However he did add 31 doubles and 11 triples. He also continued to post a viable OFB of 31.4%, helping to indicate that there is certainly more power potential there for him to tap into.
Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 has his doubts, saying:
“While he has size at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds and enough bat speed for future power, his swing path is more built for contact. Some evaluators believe he’ll have average power but if he doesn’t, he’s a fringy option at third base.”
That’s going to remain the big question until he proves otherwise, as there is no doubt about the rest of his game. Maybe he’s not an elite runner, but he clearly has the ability to steal a few bases.
He also has a tremendous eye at the plate, with a minor league career 14.3% walk rate (14.6% in 2014). You could argue that the strikeouts are on the higher side, at 25.1% last season, but not seeing a significant increase (25.0% at High-A the year before) can also be construed as a positive.
The truth is that the Angels don’t have a power option at third base (David Freese) as it is right now, so we can’t use that as a reason for skepticism. In fact, while Kubitza may have been acquired with an eye towards 2016 would it really be surprising to see him get his opportunity in 2015?
Matt Carpenter has become the poster boy, of sorts, for no power third baseman. While they aren’t a perfect comparison, with Kubitza’s speed/OBP upside could he ultimately get a shot at the leadoff spot? The potential for .290 with 10 HR, 15 SB and ample runs scored would certainly be appealing.
If the power develops, like the underlying numbers seem to suggest, he could develop into even more than that. Maybe he doesn’t make an impact until 2016, but maybe he does. He’s definitely a name to keep filed away and, in dynasty formats, stash where available.
Sources – Minor League Central, Prospect 361
Make sure to check out all of our early 2015 rankings:
- First Basemen
- Second Basemen
- Third Basemen
- Starting Pitchers
- Relief Pitchers
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