Tigers Scouting Report #19: Kyle Lobstein

Lobstein is still competing in big league camp

After being snagged in the Rule 5 Draft at the end of 2012, when the Tigers realized they didn't have a spot for Kyle Lobstein on last year's big league roster, they decided they liked him enough to give up a catching prospect to keep him. After a year of impressing in Erie and Toledo, could Lobstein be the next man up if a rotation spot opens up?

Kyle Lobstein

Vitals

Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 8/12/1989 (2014 Opening Day Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 6-3/200
Bats/Throws: Left/Left
Acquired: Rule 5 Draft, 2012; Rights Traded to Detroit for Curt Casali (C)
Ranking History: #19 (2014)

Background: Popped from the Rays in the Rule 5 draft before the 2013 season, Lobstein showed well in spring training, but wasn't really ready for the big leagues so the Tigers flipped Curt Casali to Tampa for the ability to keep Lobstein and send him to the minor leagues. Pitching between Double- and Triple-A Lobstein logged 167-2/3 innings and posted a combined 3.27 ERA.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Pitching
TEAMGGSSVIPHHRRERBBSOHBPERAWHIPW/L
Erie 1515095.19263533278303.121.257-4
Toledo 1313072.17323228256543.481.366-3


Scouting Report

Body: Good physicality; high waist; strong lower half; broad shoulders; has room for more strength in the upper body but unlikely to add at this point; body tells a different story than raw stuff; looks more imposing than he is.

Delivery/Mechanics: Simple; clean mechanics; repeats everything from rocker step to release extremely well; plays catch; has some crossfire at times with FB and adds some deception as a result; free and easy; love the delivery/mechanics.

Fastball: Works 86-89; will scrape 90 but doesn't have it with regularity; two-seamer rests in lower part of range; four seamer will work 88-89; tons of strikes; good angle from large frame; has some hop but lacks reliable movement; toys with cutting FB but hasn't figured it out yet; pitch plays below-average; no projection. Grade – Present 4/Future 4

Curveball: Slurvy shape; doesn't stay on top all the time; pitch has 2-7 to 2-8 shape; even without being on top the pitch works well; can miss bats and force weak contact; throws it in all counts; can move CB around zone; will move out of zone for chase; consistently average; has some potential to be refined and grow to above-average by staying on top more consistently and refining bite. Grade – 5/5+

Changeup: Best pitch; same easy delivery and arm speed of FB; plays off FB well; good velo separation; will show both sink and fade at varying points; pulls the string; trusts pitch and just lets it go; hitters don't pick it up; will make them look silly; easy plus in the end. Grade – 5+/6

Control/Command: Pounds the zone with all three pitches; can move FB to both sides; doesn't elevate well all the time; likes to live low and pound knees; FB command has plus projection; CB and CH command aren't far behind; can really move CH.

Other: Intelligent pitcher; understands sequence and pitching theory; likes to use all three pitches; fields well; knows defensive responsibilities; very hard worker.

Final Word

Summary: Big league future in spite of below-average FB; CB and CH are good enough to carry the load against advanced hitters; can keep hitters off FB with sequence and secondary offerings; knows what he's doing; unflappable on the mound; more solid overall profile than sexy, but will work at the highest level in some capacity.

Risk: Low risk; success in Double- and Triple-A; durable frame; clean, easy delivery; ready for big league opportunity now.

Projection: Likely headed back to Triple-A for final polishing and SP depth in 2014; should see MLB at some point in the year; has breadth of arsenal and intellect to hang at the back of a rotation; fall back option as middle reliever.

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