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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 98: Kyle Kubat

Some might consider a “crafty” pitcher as a pejorative, but this lefty’s craftiness might punch his ticket to the majors.

Don’t discount a major league debut for Kyle Kubat in 2022.
Sean Williams/South Side Sox

Kyle Kubat

Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
195 pounds
Age: 29
SSS rank among all left-handed relief pitchers in the system: 11
2021 South Side Sox Top Prospect Rank: 54
2020 South Side Hit Pen Top Prospect Ranking: 62
2019 South Side Sox Top Prospect Rank: 88

Kyle Kubat ended his four-year career with the University of Nebraska on a high note, as he posted a superb 2.97 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 15 starts spanning 94 innings. However, because he only struck out 63 batters and he was a fourth-year senior, he wasn’t selected in the 2015 draft. He ultimately signed as a UDFA with the Kansas City Royals, and pitched well for the AZL Royals that year in 12 relief outings by posting a spectacular 0.76 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in 35 ⅓ innings with 26 hits (.202 OBA) and just three walks (2.2%) while fanning 26 (19.4%). After another solid campaign in 2016 split between Low-A Lexington and High-A Wilmington, Kubat was traded in March 2017 to the White Sox for cash considerations.

Kubat split the 2017 season among three White Sox affiliates (Kannapolis, Winston-Salem and Birmingham) and excelled at each stop. In 35 outings (three starts) totaling 74 ⅔ innings, he surrendered just 50 hits (.184 OBA) and 12 walks (4.1%) while striking out 77 (26.5%) in posting a combined 1.69 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Despite that work, Kubat returned to Winston-Salem in 2018 and basically pitched there the entire year and did quite well despite some regression (3.55 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .279 OBA, 3.5 BB%, 20.7 K%).

The 2019 season was the first time Kubat started more than he relieved, and he acquitted himself exceptionally well. In four starts for the Dash spanning 22 innings, he posted a 1.23 ERA and 0.73 WHIP by relinquishing just 11 hits (.145 OBA) and five walks (6.0%) while striking out 19 (22.6%). He then started eight games for Birmingham, and in his 48 13 innings for the Barons, he compiled a 2.42 ERA and 1.03 WHIP by ceding 43 hits (.239 OBA) and seven walks (3.7%) while fanning 35 (18.4%).

He did meet his match, however, due to the juiced baseball and the favorable hitting dimensions of BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte: Kubat posted a 5.63 ERA and 1.38 WHIP for the Knights in 12 starts totaling 56 innings, as he allowed 60 hits (.278 OBA) and 17 walks (7.1%) while striking out 35 (14.7%). All nine homers he served up this year were with the Knights.

After the 2020 pandemic cancellation, Kubat rejoined the Barons to begin 2021 — but after three good games for Birmingham, the southpaw pitched the remainder of this year with the Triple-A Knights. Once in Charlotte, Kubat struggled with his home park’s dimensions. In 24 games totaling 52 1⁄3 innings, he posted a 5.33 ERA and 1.42 WHIP by surrendering 59 hits (.280 OBA) and 16 walks (7.0%). Grounders were hit off of his Triple-A offerings 40.6% of the time, which isn’t a bad rate, but aside from his 2017 stint with Birmingham it was the worst of his career.

Kubat became a minor league free agent at the end of the season, but opted to re-sign with the Sox.

Despite not possessing premium stuff, Kubat throws strikes, keeps the ball down, and isn’t afraid to use any of his four pitches (upper-80s fastball, curveball, slider, changeup) at any given time. His power changeup is generally considered his best offering, and works best when behind in the count to throw off hitters’ timing.

Kubat likely will be a long reliever in Charlotte in 2022, and if he performs well, could still have a role similar to Ross Detwiler’s when he was with the Sox.

2022 South Side Sox Top 100 White Sox Prospects

98. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
99. Anderson Comas, RF
100. Jake Elliott, RHRP