The MLB Draft lasts 40 rounds, with over 1200 players selected each season. That is an extremely large number, and teams have to get creative to arrive at it. In a sense, though, the number of picks in the draft represents an opportunity for players in every possible situation to be selected and play professional baseball. Tampa Bay Rays 14th round pick Trevor Lubking is certainly a beneficiary of that as the Rays made him the first Division III player chosen in this year’s draft. Going with a player without a Division I background is a risky proposition for teams in their early picks, but with a selection period that lasts as long as it does, teams can pick players that interest them no matter where they’re from and see if they can surprise.
Trevor Lubking is a filled-out 6’0″, 205 lefty out of Pacific Lutheran University, and he is coming off a tremendous junior season at PLU. Lubking went 6-2 with a 2.12 ERA, striking out 111 while walking only 27 in 89 innings pitched. If there is any Division III pitcher that you want to select, it is the one the leads the division in strikeouts as part of a dominant year. That is exactly what Lubking pulled off.
Lubking isn’t going to be a power pitcher against better competition. He is a lefty who fooled D3 hitters primarily with excellent command and deception rather than an overbearing arsenal. His fastball is in the 88-90 MPH range, and neither his breaking ball nor his changeup is a swing-and-miss pitch. But a future as a lefty reliever is not so crazy for Lubking thanks to his pitchability, and everything could change if the Rays can find him an effective secondary pitch. Trevor Lubking may be coming out of Division III, but the Rays see a player with a chance to help them in the future, and we will have to see how he transitions to pro ball.