By Quinn Allen
The 2018 MLB draft will take place from June 4th to 6th, and there's a very good chance that Kyle Stubbins could be the first Royal drafted since 2005.
Stubbins has been absolutely lights out this season for the Royals, posting a 3 and 2 record with a 2.28 ERA while striking out an impressive 63 hitters in just 43 innings pitched. The UBC transfer has been clocked up to 94 on his heater, something that's caught the eye of many big league teams. He first gained notoriety at the NWAC sophomore showcase in the fall. Stubbins was the last pitcher to take the mound that day and ended up throwing harder than anyone else in the entire northwest. After his stellar performance, the attention came pouring in from division one schools and major league scouts.
Stubbins has been in contact with every single major league organization prior to next month's draft, and it's something he has been working towards for several years.
"It's something I've wanted for a long time, I have been working towards this and it was really fulfilling to see it all come together", Stubbins said.
What makes him such a great pitcher is not just a powerful fastball, but his off-speed stuff. Stubbins has a wipeout slider that he says is his best pitch, a very good curveball that he can throw for strikes and a developing changeup that is really starting to turn into a plus offering.
Stubbins is a product of the Whalley Chiefs program, which play in the British Columbia Premier Baseball league. He was a mid 80's guy in high school, then signed with UBC but didn't play in his freshman season. He used that year to become stronger and increase his velocity, something that's helped Stubbins make a name for himself this year amongst professional scouts.
"I think it was just a combination of things. I started doing more Olympic lifts in the gym, using my whole body, starting doing more long toss, and also incorporated lots of plyometric balls and weighted ball programs that really helped me increase my velocity", Stubbins added.
He loved the baseball program at UBC, but wanted a more hands on academic experience. That's when Douglas came knocking, and he decided to transfer. Academics are very important to Stubbins, and he has always been set on transferring to a division one school. He is expected to sign his letter of intent later this week with the University of Houston, University of Washington, or Indiana State, all very solid baseball programs.
Stubbins has also been invited to a pre-draft workout on June 1st at Dodger stadium. LA has been one of the teams that have been following him closest this year.
"The Rockies, the Cubs, the Dodgers, and the White Sox are the teams who have been showing the most interest in me", Stubbins said.
At 6 foot 3 and about 175 pounds, Stubbins is extremely projectable. The hard throwing righty is hoping he hears his name called in the first ten rounds of next month's draft.
"It honestly depends on how much money they offer me. If it's enough, I'll sign. If not, I'll go to a division one school and re-enter the draft as a junior next season", he said.
"He's the most polished arm we have ever had at Douglas", head coach Cav Whitely said.
Stubbins has all that scouts look for in a pitcher. Nowadays, a 90 mph fastball isn't enough. You need to have quality off-speed pitches that you can throw for strikes. Stubbins has exactly that, and it makes him that much more of an interesting prospect to pro scouts. Given his size and age, he could most definitely throw harder in the future with some maturity.
Whether Kyle Stubbins decides to sign after draft day or continue his collegiate career at a division one school in the US, the future is extremely bright for the Douglas ace.