Ventura, California —— On Wednesday, in the 20th round of the MLB Draft, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Ventura College right-handed pitcher Austin Rubick. A sophomore at the two-year school and a Ventura native, Rubick spent his freshman year at the University of Arizona before transferring home and maturing rapidly once he got back to Ventura. In 12 starts for Ventura this spring, Austin Rubick was 2-4 with a 6.32 ERA and 59 strikeouts (and 45 walks) in 57 innings pitched. He has a four-year commitment to the University of Hawaii beginning in the fall, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the Brewers can get him to break that commitment.
This spring I observed Rubick several times pitching in the Western State Conference in California’s junior college baseball circuit; below, here’s what Brewers fans should expect from Rubick, and an entire series of videos of the big right-hander throwing for Ventura.
Austin Rubick scouting report
A big-bodied kid (he is listed at 6’5″, 225 lbs., and he’s every bit of that), Austin Rubick flashes plus velocity and exceptional raw stuff, though mechanical inconsistencies led to an up-and-down season at Ventura this spring. When he’s right he throws extremely hard, with a 93-95 mph fastball that’ll touch 96 mph and show decent arm-side run. On good days, he’ll command it very well, too, and mix in a deceptively good changeup in the mid-80s with decent tumble. He also shows a bigger, harder breaking ball in the mid-80s that sweeps late, providing the righty a good wipeout pitch. At times this spring, he was unhittable, with too much velocity for even good junior college hitters and too good a breaking ball to track once he got ahead in the count.
When he’s off, though, mechanical inconsistencies rob Austin Rubick of velocity, and he’ll sit in the upper-80s on bad days with imprecise command. He walked 45 batters in 57 innings this year—and hit his fair share of batters, too—as he struggled with getting his big, long frame into order through his windup. His arm action is long, and that’ll help him with velocity and pitch action, but it can also rob him of command and at times will leave him susceptible to leaving the ball up in the zone or missing high arm-side. That’s pretty typical for a 20-year-old kid, though, and the raw stuff is there: Rubick’s arm strength and raw physical strength are both exceptional, and there’s more than enough in the tank here to take a flyer on him as a professional, and it’s a great late-round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers if they ever develop him to fruition. He’ll need some serious innings to help iron out the raw aspects of his delivery and command, but the talent is undeniable.
Austin Rubick — beyond the numbers
I spent a lot of time watching Austin Rubick pitch this spring, and a fair amount of time personally with him, too, and he impressed me as a surprisingly cerebral pitcher despite his age and level. He was humbled pretty significantly by failing to stick with Arizona’s deep team his freshman year, and a homecoming to Ventura College for a bounce-back wasn’t ideal, but Rubick took an extremely mature approach to dealing with a major failure (read this for more insight on exactly what he went through). That speaks volumes about the kind of pitcher he could become, whether here with the Brewers or over the next few seasons at the University of Hawaii.
He’s an incredibly intense pitcher when on the mound, but more of a goofball between starts—he’s very laid back on days between his outings, which can be a double-edged sword, but he got himself into a good routine at Ventura and he’s now starting to understand how to use the weight room, the training table, nutrition, and other non-pitching things to his advantage come game time.
“I love the idea of playing pro ball,” Austin Rubick told me in one of our very first conversations this spring. “I wanted to do it yesterday.”
I don’t know whether that’ll make him more apt to sign with the Milwaukee Brewers out of the 20th round — he’s got a great situation ahead of him at the University of Hawaii if he decides not to turn pro yet — but I do know he’s the ideal pro pitcher and would fit in well with a full short-season schedule of starts under his belt to build innings. It’s easy to imagine him in a place like the Arizona League, or Helena in the Pioneer League, starting every fifth day; it’ll be another few years before his raw talent really fully molds into a top-flight professional pitcher, but if he gets innings along the way in the right development program that can smooth out his mechanics and find consistency in his process, there’s a significant upside here, especially for a 20th round pick.
Austin Rubick scouting report — video
We’ve got a ton of Austin Rubick video. Here’s a good look at the way his stuff works:
Here’s the first of two videos of his full start this April against Pasadena City College:
And here’s the second video of his start against Pasadena City College:
And here’s a side look at his mechanics from an earlier start against Moorpark College:
Austin Rubick scouting report — what to read
We’ve sort of touched on most of his game here in this post, but if you’re interested in reading more about Austin Rubick that we’ve done, go here:
In this Ventura College / Milwaukee Brewers / Austin Rubick scouting report: