The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Austin Kubitza in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, continuing their trend of taking prep pitchers in the middle rounds. Kubitza was rated the #153 prospect in the draft by Baseball America, and has a commitment to Rice, which means he will likely command an over-slot bonus. Pirates Prospects recently had a chance to interview Austin on being drafted, his history of pitching, and how the negotiations with the Pirates are going. Here is what Austin had to say:
1. How long have you been pitching? At what point did you start getting attention from scouts and realize that you had the potential be drafted by a Major League team?
I have been pitching since I was about 10 years old. I started getting attention from professional scouts at the beginning of my spring senior season. That’s when I started realizing that I had the potential to make it to the majors and start after high school.
2. Before the draft, what did you hear about where you might go, and what teams were in contact with you?
I had heard anywhere from 2nd round to 30th round. My asking price was high for someone in my position which was why there was such a wide spectrum. Close to the draft I was mostly in contact with the Blue Jays, Pirates, Yankees, Mariners, and Angels.
3. What was your asking price before the draft, and has that number changed at all as the signing period gets closer?
My asking price was between $1.5 and $2 million. I am planning on sticking to that range. If I have to wait 3 years to start my road to the majors then so be it. I’ll just be better and stronger, especially with the coaching staff at Rice.
4. What have you been doing since your high school season ended to stay in pitching shape?
I have been going to All-star games, playing for Team Texas, and also playing with my summer team; the Arlington A’s.
5. What is your current arsenal of pitches and what speeds do you typically sit at?
Fastball 88-92, Slider low 80’s, Change-up low 80’s
6. Have the Pirates talked you about dropping one of your current pitches or working on adding another type of pitch?
Mostly they have just told me about how in the beginning after I get drafted that I will strictly throw fastballs to work on spotting that pitch. Later on we would add in the change-up or slider.
7. What pitcher do you try to model your game after?
Carlos Zambrano, he loves the game and leaves everything out on the field and thats exactly how I play the game. He can also hit pretty well for a pitcher and I love to hit.
8. What is your personal timeline to get to the majors?
I am hoping from anywhere to 4-6 years if out of high school. If out of college I would push for 3-4 years.
9. The Pirates selected Jameson Taillon, another Rice commitment, in the first round. Is there a connection between you two, or is it coincidental that you both committed to Rice and both were drafted by the Pirates?
No connection, I have only met him once while we were both on our official visit.
10. How would you classify the negotiations, and do you have any meetings set up with the team in the next week?
We are making progress as after draft time is a waiting game since I have to wait for the people ahead of me to sign. I’ve talked to the local scout and he also came out to watch my last summer game and we talked then as well. We might meet this week, but it’s not for sure as there is a lot of things going on around my house.
11. Do you have a personal deadline to make your decision, other than the normal August 16th draft signing deadline?
Not really, I would like to know for sure what I’m going to do as soon as I can whether it be school or pro ball. But I do understand that this whole thing is a waiting game.
12. Between your commitment to Rice and signing with the Pirates, which way are you currently leaning?
Not leaning any way, I’m still 50-50. I am getting as ready as I can to head to Rice though just in case I don’t sign in time and have to scramble to get ready for school.
13. Last year, Zach Von Rosenberg and Colton Cain mentioned that being able to pitch together was one of the reasons they both signed. Is there any draft pick from the 2010 draft class that you would like to be teammates with on the Pirates? If this person signed, would it influence your decision to sign?
Not necessarily, but if I could play with anyone it would be my brother who will be a junior at Texas State. When we both make it I would love to play with him as he was a big part of everything that’s happened to me in baseball.