CLEARWATER, Fla. – Austin Kubitza’s baseball life was shaped by his loved ones.
The Detroit Tigers third-ranked pitcher remembers fondly those who helped shape his career. Kubitza credits his family and coaches for instilling in him a work ethic at a young age.
His brother Kyle Kubitza, a part of the Anaheim Angels farm system, is to be thanked for Austin’s love of the game.
“My brother like I said, I wanted to do everything he did growing up,” said Kubitza while sitting near the bullpen at the Tiger Town Complex on Friday. “We would always play catch.
“Whatever sport it was during the season we did it together.”
Not only was Kubitza’s brother a key part of his passion for baseball, his father had a great role in his development as well.
The heavy lifting of day-to-day practice was a responsibility his dad took great pride in.
“My dad drove me to every pitching lesson and ever hitting lesson,” said Kubitza. “Anything you could imagine, he was all for it, as long as I put the work in.”
There’s not a single thing about America’s summer past time that Kubitza doesn’t enjoy.
To him, it’s always fun as long as it’s baseball.
“Everything about baseball I enjoy,” said Kubitza. “When it comes to baseball, I enjoy practising and I enjoy playing games.
“There’s not really any part of baseball I don’t enjoy”
Kubitza’s time spent with his brother and father has not only helped him become the Tigers’ sixth-ranked prospect but moulded him as a person.
“Those two combined, really helped me to love the game and make me into the man I am today,” said Kubitza.
His excitement for the game has allowed Kubitza to have a sparkling minor-league career.
The reigning Tigers minor-league pitcher of the year, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, recorded 10 wins, 140 strikeouts in 131 innings pitched, and an impressive 2.34 earned-run average.
His dominance on the mound was due in part to his university head coach, Wayne Graham, who was able to arm the former Rice Owl with a two-seam fastball that hasn’t failed him very often.
“It had so much movement on it,” said Kubitza, who after a full season removed from college still has confidence in his pitch.
“I just throw it down the middle and trust it’s going to move, since it has every time I’ve thrown it.”
While the Arlington, Texas., native’s talent is evident, MLB.com projects his arrival to the major leagues in 2017.
Kubitza, now with the single-A West Michigan Whitecap, believes he will be with the Tigers sooner.
“I would like to think so, it all depends on how I play, said Kubitza. “I would like to think I’ll be there someday.
“I just got to keep my head down and work hard.”
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