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 LHP Kyle Lobstein NEWS

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PostSubject: LHP Kyle Lobstein NEWS   Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:21 pm

Tigers add speed, lefty arm in Rule 5 Draft

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 12/06/12 12:50 PM ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rule 5 Draft is usually the tool for the talent-depleted team to find help by plucking other teams' unprotected Minor Leaguers. On Thursday, it was the instrument of improvement for the Detroit Tigers to try to bolster their title-contending roster.

In a move not seen in Tigers circles since 2004, when they were still an also-ran, Detroit picked up two Rule 5 selections, acquiring speedy second baseman Jeff Kobernus and left-hander Kyle Lobstein in separate trades.

Kobernus comes out of the Nationals farm system through the Red Sox, who selected him with their Rule 5 pick and then dealt him to Detroit in exchange for Triple-A Toledo utility man Justin Henry. The Tigers acquired Lobstein from the Mets, who drafted him from the Rays system, in exchange for cash considerations from Detroit.

Both are former second-round picks in the First-Year Player Draft, and both are guys Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said they targeted going in. Both would have to stick on the 25-man roster or be offered back to their original organizations, the same rules that would've applied if the Tigers had drafted them.

The 24-year-old Kobernus hit .282 with a home run, 19 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 53 attempts over 82 games at Double-A Harrisburg. He has 120 steals in 149 attempts over 290 career games, a reflection of the speed tool that attracted the Tigers to him.

"We've tried to add some speed," Dombrowski said. "If he could be a guy that made our club, then all of a sudden you have a guy that can really run on the bench at that point, it gives you some versatility."

Kobernus has played mostly second base in his career, but the Tigers see him as a potential utility guy.

"We not only like his ability to play second, but we think that perhaps -- and he hasn't really done much of it -- he could have some versatility where we might be able to move him to the outfield and get some playing time there," Dombrowski said.

Kobernus has played very little shortstop, but he's not an answer to the Tigers' potential moves there.

"We didn't really take him because we think he's going to play shortstop," assistant general manager Al Avila said. "We took him because he can play second, we feel he can play some outfield, and he's a pretty decent hitter. If he plays shortstop, that's kind of icing on the cake for us."

The 23-year-old Lobstein went 8-7 with a 4.06 ERA over 27 starts at Double-A Montgomery, striking out 129 batters over 144 innings. It was a pretty good snapshot of his pro career over the last four seasons, but it's the stuff that the Tigers like.

"He's more of an average-fastball guy, good breaking ball and a changeup," Dombrowski said. "We just like him as an overall pitcher. We look at him as a guy that might be able to come in as a starter and compete, but of course we don't look at him as ahead of the other guys. He's a guy that would be protection [in the rotation] and maybe a second lefty [reliever], because we do like him in that regard."

The Tigers, who have had prospects and farmhands as insurance starters for the past few years, do not have much depth at this point. They especially don't have much depth in left-handers after trading Andy Oliver to Pittsburgh. Lobstein provides that.

Of course, depth isn't the design of the Rule 5. If Lobstein doesn't make the team out of camp, the Tigers have to offer him back to the Rays. But if Tampa Bay, which has plenty of pitching depth, decides it doesn't need him, the Tigers can work out a deal to keep him and move him into the Minor League system.

Those usually aren't the kind of decisions contending teams have to make. For a team that once stockpiled players through the Rule 5 Draft with Wil Ledezma, Chris Shelton and others, it's a throwback move.

"You want to improve all the time," Dombrowski said. "You want to be as good as you can at any position all the time. And a lot of times, you don't get the [Miguel] Cabreras, the [Prince] Fielders, the [Torii] Hunters. In some areas, you improve your roster by little bits. And we think that these guys have a chance to do that for us. It's a combination of both.

"I tip my cap. Our scouting department has done a tremendous job for us. You try to get better whatever way you can, no question. That's your job."

The Tigers also added a player in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, selecting outfielder Eliezer Mesa from Oakland's organization. The multi-tooled 24-year-old saw time at all three outfield position at three different levels this past season, hitting for a .255 average on the year with four home runs, 43 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts. He's batting .321 (17-for-53) so far for Estrellas in the Dominican Winter League.

Detroit lost two left-handers in the Double-A portion of the Rule 5. Left-hander Jay Voss had found some stability in the Tigers organization after coming over in the Nate Robertson trade a few years ago, but will join the Cardinals system after his selection. The 25-year-old pitched in just three games this year for Double-A Erie in an injury-shortened campaign.

Another lefty farmhand, Efrain Nieves, went 4-1 with three saves, a 2.79 ERA and 42 strikeouts in as many innings for Connecticut in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League. Having just turned 23 years old a few weeks ago, however, he was left unprotected, and the Blue Jays took advantage with a selection.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: LHP Kyle Lobstein NEWS   Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:37 am


Lobstein striving to make big league jump
Rule 5 Draft pick competing for spot in Tigers' bullpen

By Adam Berry / MLB.com | 2/19/2013 2:45 P.M. ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Kyle Lobstein slept through the moment that saved him from another Minor League camp and just might take him straight to the big leagues with a World Series contender.

Major League Baseball's Rule 5 Draft started at 10 a.m. ET on Dec. 6 in Nashville, Tenn. Lobstein, left unprotected by the Rays, had an idea he might be selected. The 23-year-old left-hander compared his emotions the night before to the build-up he experienced before the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, when he was picked in the second round, albeit not quite as nerve-wracking.

By the time Lobstein woke up in Arizona on the morning of the Rule 5 Draft, he'd been picked up by the Mets, and his trade to the Tigers for cash considerations was already in the works. A little more than two months later, Lobstein can sit in front of his locker at Joker Marchant Stadium -- admittedly a fan of nearby superstars like Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder -- with a realistic chance of breaking into the Majors after his first big league Spring Training.

"I know most people didn't expect it, for sure. Obviously, they're taking a big chance on me," said Lobstein, who is 30-30 with a 3.85 ERA in his four-year Minor League career. "But for them to be able to do that with the caliber of club they have and that they had coming back, plus the guys they added in the offseason, it's definitely a special honor."

Of course, a spot on the big league roster is far from guaranteed. Lobstein will have to earn it, and he'll have to beat out plenty of other candidates to become the Tigers' second left-handed reliever, likely in a long-relief role. That's the job Lobstein is fighting for despite spending his entire Minor League career to this point as a starter in the Rays' farm system, most recently with Double-A Montgomery, where he went 8-7 with a 4.06 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 144 innings a year ago.

Right now, with his role still up in the air, the plan is to keep him stretched out like a starting pitcher. That will work in his favor if he's called upon as a long reliever or spot starter, but it's also helped him make the adjustment to big league camp and his new club. The Tigers haven't tried to overhaul his routine, so he's training and preparing in a familiar way despite this completely unfamiliar situation.

"I can definitely bring a lot of [the Rays'] stuff over here and still keep it with me, because obviously it works for their guys, as you can see with the amount of guys that they bring up through their system," Lobstein said. "But at the same time, I'm all ears over here. These guys know what they're doing here."

As much as he's strived to stay the same, Lobstein knew at least one thing would have to change. He realized he could claim a spot only in the Tigers' bullpen, so he began talking to relievers, picking their brains to see how their habits and strategies differ from his own. Particularly helpful in this regard was Astros right-hander Hector Ambriz, Lobstein's offseason catch partner.

"It's different in a lot of ways, but in a lot of ways, it's the same," Lobstein said. "You still obviously have got to go out there and pitch the same ball to the same hitters. It's just going about it in a little bit of a different way."

But there's another, more immediate issue hanging over Lobstein's head this spring: If he doesn't break camp with the Tigers, or if he's removed from their 25-man roster at any point this season, Detroit must offer him back to Tampa Bay for $25,000, half of the $50,000 it cost to pick him in the Rule 5 Draft.

In addition to switching clubs again, there's a profound difference between spending the season with the reigning American League Central champions and riding the buses in the Southern League with his old Montgomery Biscuits teammates. So you'd assume he has to feel some sort of pressure as he's preparing to prove himself in Grapefruit League games, right? Not so much.

"At this point, I'm trying to keep that out of my mind," he said.

Lobstein isn't exactly handling this potentially major decision in his sleep, like he did back in December. But he's done his best so far to soak in his first Major League experience, focus on earning a job with the Tigers and forget about his next move, whether it's to Detroit or back to the Rays' farm system.

"Either way," he said, "I'll still have an opportunity to play ball this year."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: LHP Kyle Lobstein NEWS   Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:11 pm

Lobstein starts appearance shaky but settles down

By Jason Beck and Paul Hagen / MLB.com | 03/02/2013 5:08 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- Left-hander Kyle Lobstein, who is trying to earn a bullpen spot as a Rule 5 Draft pick, settled down after a tough start in his third Grapefruit League appearance, on Sunday against the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

The 23-year-old went into the game with a 9.82 ERA, started the bottom of the fourth and immediately gave up an infield single to Jayson Nix and a home run to Chris Stewart. However, he retired six straight after that, including striking out the side in the fifth.

"He threw pretty well," said bench coach Gene Lamont, who managed the 10-3 split-squad loss. "It looked like he just hung one pitch, the only real bad pitch that he made. But I was happy with the way he threw. As a Rule 5 guy, he's someone we're surely going to look at. It's not as though he's an established guy who has all spring. And I'm sure he knows that. He threw the ball better."

Lobstein ranked second in the Double-A Southern League in strikeouts last season, with 129. He was taken by the Mets from the Rays organization in the Rule 5 Draft and immediately traded to the Tigers for cash considerations.

The Tigers are obligated to keep Lobstein on the active big league roster all season, otherwise they have to put him on waivers and, if he clears, offer him back to his original team before he could be sent to the Minors.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: LHP Kyle Lobstein NEWS   Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:12 pm

Tigers send Lobstein to Double-A; trade Casali

By Joey Nowak / MLB.com | 3/25/2013 4:40 P.M. ET

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Tigers on Monday outrighted left-hander Kyle Lobstein to Double-A Erie, and traded catcher Curt Casali to Tampa Bay to retain the rights to Lobstein.

Lobstein, was selected by the Mets from the Rays in the Rule 5 Draft last year, before he was traded to the Tigers in exchange for cash considerations following the Draft.

"We liked him," president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "It was apparent he wasn't going to make our club over the last few days, but we like what we've seen. We have a tough club to make, based on what we're trying to accomplish at this point, for a young guy."

The lefty has given up 12 runs (10 earned) in 12 innings for the Tigers this spring (seven appearances). He went 8-7 with a 4.06 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 27 starts last year with Double-A Montgomery in the Tampa Bay organization.

"He knows how to pitch," Dombrowski said. "He's got an average fastball. He can spot his fastball and he's got some movement on it. He knows how to change speeds. His breaking ball, which we know that he has, hasn't been consistent for us. But our staff likes his breaking ball. He probably needs a little more development time, is what he needs."

Casali hit .288 with 12 doubles, eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 48 games with Class A West Michigan last year, and .250 with 13 doubles, a homer and 18 RBIs in 46 games with High-A Lakeland.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: LHP Kyle Lobstein NEWS   Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:54 am

Travis, five other prospects to play in AFL

By Jason Beck and Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com | 8/27/2013 8:14 P.M. ET

DETROIT -- While Tigers fans are looking for postseason baseball in October, there will be more fall work for some of Detroit's prospects. The Arizona Fall League released its rosters on Tuesday, and they include breakout Tigers prospect and Class A Lakeland second baseman Devon Travis, who will get his shot against some of the better pitching prospects in the game.

Travis will be one of a half-dozen Tigers prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox, whose coaching staff will include former Tigers hurler and Lakeland pitching coach Mike Maroth. Also going to Arizona is Class A West Michigan closer Corey Knebel, Double-A Erie outfielder Tyler Collins, SeaWolves reliever Will Clinard and Triple-A Toledo lefty Kyle Lobstein. Detroit will name one more player to the roster before the season opens Oct. 8.

Travis' season began with a Spring Training impression as an extra player in Detroit's Grapefruit League games. The former Florida State second baseman took that momentum to West Michigan and hit up a storm in the Midwest League, batting .352 with 17 doubles, six homers, 42 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 77 games.

He earned a midseason promotion to the Florida State League and hasn't let up, hitting .330 with eight doubles, five homers and 22 RBIs in 47 games. He has gone 6-for-7 stealing bases. A matchup in the Fall League was the next logical step.

"I think it's going to be a very natural step for him," Tigers player development director Dave Owen said Tuesday. "What a great year he's put together."

Knebel will become the second Tiger in five years to go to the AFL the same year he's drafted. Andy Oliver did it in 2009. Knebel, however, is in a different situation. He came into the Tigers' system as a reliever, despite initial indications the Tigers would stretch him into a starter, and he'll continue work out of the bullpen in Mesa.

The formula has worked well so far. The former University of Texas closer entered Tuesday having allowed just two earned runs on 12 hits over 28 innings, striking out 38 batters and recording 13 saves.

"He came on after the Draft and has done everything he's supposed to do," Owen said. "He's shown he's ready for a challenge."

Collins will get a chance to work on some of the hitting adjustments instructor Bruce Fields and Erie hitting coach Gerald Perry made with him this summer with his swing and his plate discipline. The Spring Training standout has struggled to a .240 average with the SeaWolves, but his 18 home runs and 74 RBIs easily top his previous bests as a pro.

Lobstein spent most of the spring in camp with the Tigers as a Rule 5 pick, then went to Erie when the Tigers worked out a trade with the Rays to acquire his full rights. He's 12-7 with a 3.40 ERA between Erie and Toledo, including two complete games.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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