KYLE LOBSTEIN, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
Born: August 12, 1989
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 200
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 2nd round, 47th overall, 2008 (Rays)
How Acquired: Trade (from Tigers for cash considerations)
High School: Coconino HS (Flagstaff, AZ)
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Tampa Bay drafted Lobstein out of high school on the basis of a clean delivery and an average fastball that the Rays hoped would eventually climb into the 90s.  He also had a curve and change that scouts believed showed promise.  As a pro, though, Lobstein’s stuff didn’t develop, with his fastball sometimes sitting as low as 86-87 and his secondary stuff remaining fringy.  The Rays didn’t add him to their 40-man roster and lost him in the Rule 5 draft, with the Mets selecting him and sending him on to the Tigers in a prearranged deal.  As a major leaguer, his fastball averaged 88.4 mph in 2014.  It dropped to 86.7 in 2015, but shoulder soreness, which cost him much of the season, appears to have been the culprit.  His velocity dropped several weeks before he went on the disabled list and remained down after he returned.  According to PitchFX, Lobstein also throws a low-80s cutter, along with the curve and change.  In the majors he’s had an above-average groundball rate of 49.7%.  He’s pitched well against left-handed hitters, holding them to a 234/307/323 line, but right-handed hitters have hammered him for 300/353/479.  The Pirates acquired Lobstein for cash after the Tigers designated him for assignment.

2009

A-:  3-5-0, 2.58 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 73.1 IP, 2.8 BB/9, 9.1 K/9

Lobstein had a strong debut in the New York-Penn League, which was a challenging assignment for a high school draftee.  Baseball America rated him the Rays’ 11th best prospect after the season.

2010
A:  9-8-0, 4.14 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 148.0 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 7.8 K/9

The Rays moved Lobstein up to low A, where he spent the season in the rotation.  He put up solid rather than good numbers, and disappointed scouts with a fastball that sat only at 86-87.  His BA ranking within the Rays’ organization dropped to 29th.

2011
A+:  9-9-0, 4.01 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 121.1 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 6.3 K/9
AA:  1-1-0, 7.36 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 11.0 IP, 4.9 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

Lobstein got slightly better results in high A, although with a low K rate.  He didn’t make the Rays’ top 30 prospects list.

2012
AA:  8-7-0, 4.06 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 144.0 IP, 4.3 BB/9, 8.1 K/9 

Lobstein spent the season in AA and got similar results to the year before, albeit with higher walk and K rates.  His velocity remained disappointing, leading the Rays to leave him off their 40-man roster.  The Mets selected him and sold him to the Tigers in a pre-arranged deal.  Detroit reached a deal with the Rays in spring training allowing them to retain Lobstein without keeping him in the majors.  The Tigers then outrighted him to the minors.

2013
AA:  7-4-0, 3.12 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 95.1 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
AAA:  6-3-0, 3.48 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 72.1 IP, 3.1 BB/9, 8.1 K/9

Lobstein split the season between AA and AAA, and got better results than the previous two years.  Scouts remained unimpressed by his stuff, though, and BA rated him 23rd in a weak Tigers’ system.  Detroit nevertheless added him to the 40-man roster after the season.

2014
AAA:  9-11-0, 4.07 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 146.0 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
MLB:  1-2-0, 4.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 29.1 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 6.2 K/9

Lobstein spent most of the season in AAA and got hit hard, with opponents batting .299 against him.  The Tigers called him up in late August and he made six starts and one relief appearance.  He actually pitched better in the majors; in fact, he pitched very well in all but two of his starts.

2015
A+:  0-1-0, 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.2 IP, 2.3 BB/9, 4.7 K/9
AAA:  0-2-0, 6.62 ERA, 1.98 WHIP, 17.2 IP, 4.6 BB/9, 6.6 K/9
MLB:  3-8-0, 5.94 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 63.2 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 4.5 K/9

Lobstein opened the season in the Detroit rotation and pitched decently through late May, averaging six innings through eight starts, with a 4.34 ERA.  In late May, though, he went on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.  He spent August rehabbing in the minors, then returned to the Tigers for three September starts in which he got bombed.  He finished the season with two relief appearances.

Lobstein still has two options left.  Initially, he figured to serve as AAA starting depth, at least early in the season given that their top pitching prospects aren’t likely to be major league ready until mid-season.  When Jared Hughes went on the disabled list at the end of spring training, though, the Pirates kept Lobstein on the team.  Given his sizable platoon split, he might be successful as a lefty bullpen specialist, but Clint Hurdle pays little attention to the platoon advantage with his relievers.  Also, the Pirates will want Lobstein available to start, so he’ll most likely pitch in long relief.  Once Hughes is healthy, Lobstein is likely to go to Indianapolis to pitch in the rotation.

UPDATE:  Lobstein was up and down a number of times between the Pirates and AAA through June.  He wasn’t especially effective in the majors, walking a lot of hitters and not missing bats.  He didn’t pitch very well after his last return trip to AAA, either, and evidently got passed on the depth chart by Kelvin Marte.  When the Pirates needed a reliever at the end of August, they designated Lobstein for assignment and called up Marte.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2016: $520,000
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $1,500,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: 8/23/2014
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2021
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 12/6/2012
Options Remaining: 2 (USED:  2014)
MLB Service Time: 1.033
TRANSACTIONS
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2nd round, 47th overall pick; signed on August 15.
December 6, 2012: Selected by the New York Mets in the Rule 5 draft.
December 6, 2012:
Sold by the New York Mets to the Detroit Tigers.
March 25, 2013: Rights to retain Rule 5 selection acquired by the Detroit Tigers from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curt Casali.
March 25, 2013: Outrighted to AAA by the Detroit Tigers.
November 20, 2013:
Contract purchased by the Detroit Tigers.
December 18, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Detroit Tigers; traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations on December 21.
August 30, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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