Angels Acquire Prospects Kubitza, Hyatt from Braves


It has been a busy offseason for the Los Angeles Angels, and on Thursday the Halos added two talented prospects to their ball club. The Angels acquired 24-year-old third baseman Kyle Kubitza, and 24-year-old reliever Nate Hyatt from the Atlanta Braves. The Angels are sending 17-year-old hurler Ricardo Sanchez to the Braves. The Angels designated first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss for assignment in a corresponding move.

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Kyle Kubitza was the real prize in this trade for the Angels. Originally a 3rd round selection of the Atlanta Braves in the 2011 draft, Kubitza spent 2014 with the Braves double-A affiliate in Mississippi. The 24-year-old Texas State alum tore up the Southern League, batting .295, with 8 home runs, 55 RBI’s and 21 stolen bases. Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto puts a lot of stock in a player’s ability to get on base. Kubitza’s on base percentage last year with the Mississippi Braves was an impressive .405. Kubitza showed himself to be a plus defender at the hot corner in 2014, posting a .924 fielding percentage, and tallying a range factor of 2.54.

According to, Kubitza is already ranked as the Angels number seven prospect. Kubitza is blessed with a smooth swing from the left side, and is expected to hit for adequate power for his position. Kubitza does a nice job working counts, and stays within himself at the dish. Known more for his strong arm than his glove work, Kubitza is improving defensively every year. Kubitza appears to be the heir apparent to David Freese at third base in Anaheim. I expect Kubitza to start the season in Salt Lake City, but he will likely earn a call-up at some point during the year. Interesting side note – Kubitza was a college teammate of Arizona Diamondbacks star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

Nate Hyatt has put up some impressive numbers during his minor league career, and could prove to be quite a steal for the Angels. The Braves selected Hyatt out of Appalachian State University in the 13th round of the 2012 draft. The 24-year-old right-hander dominated in 2014 with the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League. Hyatt went 5-3, and posted a 2.71 ERA over 63 innings pitched. He did a nice job limiting the opposition to 1.38 walks/hits per inning. Hyatt has struggled with control early in his career, but in 2014 he showed improved command averaging just 3.9 walks per 9 innings. Hyatt is a hard throwing righty, and he averaged 10.4 strikeouts per 9 innings last season.

The Hyatt hotel chain is known for luxury, but Hyatt the baseball player is known for his no nonsense approach on the mound. Hyatt has a quick compact delivery, and employs just three pitches. Hyatt relies heavily on his fastball, and it is a good one. At just 6’0 tall he gets a surprising amount of juice out of his fastball, consistently lighting up 98 on the gun. His Slider is a bit unrefined, but it has shown great improvement over the past year. Hyatt recently added a changeup to his arsenal, and while it is not his best pitch, it does show potential for growth. The Angels will likely have him start the 2015 season with their double-A affiliate in Arkansas. Hyatt has the look of a Major League reliever, and he could potentially earn a look in Anaheim at some point during the 2016 season.

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The Angels have plenty of question marks surrounding their future at third base with David Freese entering the final year of his contract. After leaving hot shot prospect Kaleb Cowart unprotected in December’s rule 5 draft, it is clear Jerry Dipoto and his staff are losing faith in the 22-year-old. With Freese set to hit free agency after the season, and the Halos lack of confidence in Cowart, adding a player with Kubitza’s potential was quite a coup for the Angels.

The Angels have done a great job this offseason maintaining a championship caliber squad for 2015, while also positioning themselves nicely for sustained success after acquiring young, controllable players at nearly every position. It is exciting to think about what the club could look like in a few years with so many high upside players on the cusp of making an impact.

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