Once some of the tides clear with prep players and underslotting clear, it seems very possible might look to pick up an arm from the college ranks towards the second round. One arm that has a good chance of being available at picks 40 and 58 for the Royals is Stanford left-hander Kris Bubic.
A native of southern-California, Bubic went to Stanford as an under-the-radar arm, starting to make a name for himself in his freshman season, when he worked a 3.26 ERA in 47 innings, working from both the rotation and the bullpen. He went on to take a bigger role the following season, appearing in 15 games, all starts, pitching to the tune of a 2.79 ERA, while striking out over nine batters per nine.
It was in his draft season that Bubic saw his stock soar. In 79 innings this year, he has posted a career-low 2.73 ERA, striking out a career high 10.4 batters per nine. Put the season he had along with his fellow rotation mate and fellow draft prospect Tristan Beck, and Stanford formed one of the better 1-2 punches in all of college baseball.
Getting down to business, Bubic works with a short three-pitch repertoire. He throws a fastball that sits in the lower-90s, touching 94 at its best. The changeup is what makes him so highly-rated. Watching him pitch, the first thing I noticed was the great command and confidence he had with that offering. The curveball is nothing to get excited about, but it has the potential of turning into an average offering.
If there’s a concern with him, it’s clearly the lack of ceiling, mostly brought on by not owning a plus-fastball. He makes up for this though with a projectable delivery and above-average command that should make development smoother for him along the way.
There is one unusual thing with him though. If you watch a lot of Clayton Kershaw starts, there might be something you quickly notice with his delivery. Yep, that weird pause in the middle. Watching it, it looks even more stressed than Kershaw’s, as he really gets that leg up and over. This puts hitters off-balance and messes with timing a lot. Also worth mentioning with Bubic is the large, noticeable frame, coming in at 6’3″ 210 lbs.
I want to circle back to the changeup, because I am a huge fan. The command on it is elite. Combine that with above-average movement and hitters are whiffing on this thing constantly.
So with the very likely possibility of the Royals going high-variance in prep arms early, grabbing one of the higher-floor pitching prospects in this draft, a la Bubic, would be a nice complement.
Photo Credits: Stanford Athletics