The Royals took five college pitchers with their top five picks over the first two rounds of the 2018 Draft, nabbing Florida right-handers Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar and Virginia lefty Daniel Lynch with the first three before selecting Bubic out of Stanford with the No. 40 overall selection. He was more effective than any of the aforementioned hurlers in '19, posting a Minor League-best 185 strikeouts -- the most by a Royals farmhand since 2000 -- and a 2.23 ERA that paced all Royals' prospects. He represented the Royals at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July and turned in a pair of dominant playoff starts to help Class A Advanced Wilmington secure its first Carolina League title since 1999.
Bubic was able to carve up hitters across two levels in 2019 on the strength of his fastball and changeup. The two pitches don’t have a ton of separation in terms of velocity, with his heater sitting 91-93 mph and the changeup registering at 84-85 mph, but the southpaw’s tricky arm speed and fading action makes the latter a plus, swing-and-miss pitch that plays against hitters on both sides of the plate. Bubic's funky delivery gives him natural deception, and hitters generally struggle to pick up the ball out of his hand. His curveball isn't as consistent, but still projects as an average offering, thrown with good shape and late bite.
While Bubic’s workhorse mentality and strike-throwing ability makes it easy to project him as a back-end starter in the big leagues, some scouts wonder how his stuff will translate against hitters at higher levels. If he can pass that test, Bubic could end up being one of the first starting pitchers from his class to reach the Majors.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
If there was a college pitcher available when the Royals were picking in the early stages of the 2018 Draft, it was safe to assume the organization was going to take a long look at him. Kansas City took five college arms with its first five picks in the top two rounds. After nabbing Florida right-handers Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar, then Virginia lefty Daniel Lynch with their first three picks, the Royals went out west and got another lefty in Bubic, Stanford's Saturday starter, with pick No. 40 overall, sending him to the Rookie-level Pioneer League for his pro debut last summer.
Bubic has relied heavily on his fastball and changeup combination with good results. There isn't a ton of velocity differential between the two pitches -- his fastball will sit 91-93 mph and he'll be up to 84-85 mph with his changeup at times -- but his deceptive arm speed and fading action on it makes it an out pitch. Bubic's funky delivery makes it tough for any hitter to pick up either pitch. His curveball isn't as consistent, but there's some projection there, as he used to shelve the pitch if he didn't have the feel for it, something that won't work at the next level. When his delivery is in sync, it can be an above-average pitch; when his timing is off, it can come in soft and up in the zone.
Even with the unorthodox delivery, Bubic has always been a strike-thrower and looks like a future No. 4 type starter. He might be a half-step behind the other college arms taken in front of him, but he could easily catch up as he starts his pro career in earnest.
Bubic emerged as Stanford's best starter as a sophomore in 2017, then boosted his stock further by leading the Cape Cod League in strikeouts and winning its pitcher of the year award that summer. He continued to perform while displaying improved stuff this spring, leading the Royals to take him 40th overall in the supplemental first round. The fourth of five college arms Kansas City popped at the top of the Draft, he signed for $1,597,500.
Like Royals first-rounder Jackson Kowar, Bubic had one of the best changeups in the 2018 Draft, a consistent plus pitch that he's not afraid to use several times in a row. He has added some fastball velocity this year, working more consistently in the low 90s and topping out at 95 mph with sink when he keeps it down in the strike zone. His curveball has shown signs of becoming an average third offering as he has used it more often.
Bubic has the arsenal and control to make it as a starter, though some evaluators wonder about his mechanics because he has a long arm action in the back of his delivery and a pause at the top. That doesn't prevent him from throwing strikes and gives him some added deception. A good bet to become a No. 4 starter, he stands out more with his floor than his ceiling.