Royals manager Mike Matheny announced that pitching prospect Kris Bubic will make the Friday night start for the home opener against the Chicago White Sox. Bubic was the 40th overall pick of the 2018 draft and will be making his Major League debut. The 22-year old left-hander led all minor leaguers in strikeouts last year with 185 in 149 1⁄3 innings, with a 2.23 ERA over Low-A and High-A ball. He had a 2.08 ERA in nine starts with Low-A Lexington, before being promoted and finishing with a 2.30 ERA in 17 starts for High-A Wilmington.
Bubic will be the second Royals starter to make his MLB debut this year, joining Brady Singer, who made his debut last Saturday against Cleveland and will pitch tonight in Detroit. Bubic was named the #96 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball Prospectus and is ranked the #6 prospect in the organization by MLB Pipeline. They write that Bubic was “able to carve up hitters across two levels in 2019 on the strength of his fastball and changeup.” Bubic throws a heater in the low 90s, but has “trick arm speed and fading action” to make his changeup a plus pitch. Bubic has a funky delivery - not unlike Clayton Kershaw - that creates deception, and throws a curveball MLB Pipeline describe as an “average offering” lacking consistency, but with good late bite.
A week before the season, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said this: "We’re going to be aggressive with the right players, assuming they have the ability to help us. We’re not going to shy away from that."— Alec Lewis (@alec_lewis) July 30, 2020
Actions backing up words.
The Royals have had their rotation decimated to begin the year, with Brad Keller and Jakob Junis each starting the season on the Injured List after missing much of Summer Camp due to positive COVID-19 tests. Left-hander Mike Montgomery was placed on the Injured List earlier this week with a lat strain. Kyle Zimmer made a short start on Tuesday, and Matheny has indicated he would like to see more starts from Ronald Bolaños.
After Mike Matheny dropped the bombshell about Kris Bubic starting the home opener, I asked him, "So, looking ahead, will you go Kowar on Saturday and Lynch on Sunday, or Lynch then Kowar?"— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) July 30, 2020
Shaking his head and laughing, Matheny said, "It's never enough with you, is it?"