Kyle Lobstein was the Rays second-round pick in 2008 and received a signing bonus of $1 million, more for his projection than his current stuff. As a junior in high school, Lobstein was throwing in the 92-94 mph range but that dipped into the 80s as a senior. He's 6-3 and athletic, so there was good reason to think he'd able to regain the velocity and maintain it when he added strength, but that hasn't happened as a pro.
He debuted in 2009 with Hudson Valley where he struck out a batter per inning, but it wasn't due to an uptick in stuff. It's not uncommon for lefties with decent command and control like Lobstein to find success at the lower levels without a good fastball, and sure enough his K/9 has fallen from 9.1 in 2009 to 7.8 with Bowling Green and 6.5 in 2011, mainly with Charlotte. The good news is that he's been able to limit the walks, and his career strikeout-to-walk rate is 2.67.
But with a fastball that's relatively straight without below-average velocity, it'll be tough to find sustained success at the upper levels. In 11 late-season innings with Montgomery, Lobstein allowed nine runs, including four home runs. He's been a flyball pitcher in his career, so the longball is always going to be a concern.
But I think there's still some hope here. He's still just 22 years old, still 6-3 and athletic, and has the ability to locate at least decently well. If he can get his fastball into even the 88-91 mph range while tightening up his command, he profiles as a back-end rotation pitcher. Of course, with the Rays glut of pitching, even if that happens he may be a reliever or a trade chip. Lobstein will be back in Montgomery to start the 2012 season, what sort of year do you see him having?