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2018 MLB Draft Profile: Kris Bubic

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The southpaw moved up the draft rankings after a successful 2017 and 2018

Mr. Bubble: Kris Bubic is one of the top left-handed pitchers in the draft.
Stanford

Who is Kris Bubic?

The lefty starting pitcher stands at six-foot-three, and rather hilariously MLB Pipeline has him listed at 180 pounds, Stanford at 220 (I’m guessing it’s somewhere in between). Most pitchers start out as relievers when they reach college, and Bubic was no different, though six of his 21 appearances were starts as a freshman. In 47 innings he had an ERA of 3.26, with 26 walks and 38 punch outs. The 2017 season was his breakout, earning him a spot in the Cape Cod League. He sported a 2.79 ERA in 90 13 innings pitched. He also increased his K/9 with 96 strikeouts and decreased his BB/9 with 31 walks. Unlike some second round prospects previously profiled, he had a successful showing in the Cape Cod league in 2017, and that success continued into his junior year in 2018. Bubic has not gone deep into games like he did his sophomore year, primarily because his walks increased to 30 over 79 innings. However, his ERA has improved to 2.73, largely because he is striking out more batters.

How does Kris Bubic rank?

Fangraphs: 41

MLB Pipeline: 49

What is Bubic’s game?

The lefty has fastball in the low- to mid-90s, but scouts are more enamored with his plus changeup. MLB Pipeline categorized the changeup as an out pitch, and they enjoy his fastball-changeup combo. He recently added a breaking ball that is currently graded as average, but improving. He will need to improve his velocity and/or improve the control on his breaking pitch if he wants to be a starter in the bigs. Bubic has decent control, but that has fallen off this college season. It should not be out of the realm of possibilities that an organization would want Bubic to add another type of fastball; if Bubic came to Chicago, we know Coop loves to introduce cutters to his guys. Bubic’s delivery is repeatable, and the reason he has been so successful as a strikeout pitcher is because his fastball and changeup do not change his delivery. As you will see in the video below, it seems like he modeled that delivery after Clayton Kershaw.

What does Bubic look like?

Why would the White Sox draft him?

His fastball-changeup combo makes him a safe pick. At the very least, Bubic should make it to the majors as a reliever who can give you spot starts or take over for an injury, much like Hector Santiago (just remember Sox fans, Santiago used to be good). If Bubic can stick as a starter, that means he can use three to four pitches effectively, but that would be determined by the White Sox’s player development staff. Bubic has good control, already has two above-average pitches and is a lefty — all of those aspects bode well for him, which is why Bubic should be picked in the first two rounds.

Why wouldn’t the White Sox draft him?

Bubic has not been able to go deep into games recently, with his walks increasing as the season drags on. He also does not have elite velocity, and on days his changeup is not good he will get pummeled by professional hitters. The fact that he is a “safe” pick is not a rousing endorsement, either, as for most of his college career Bubic looked to be a reliever. The Sox would have to mold him into a starting pitcher.