Kyle Lobstein continues to look good this spring. It once seemed that Lobstein was going to sink or swim on his own as the Pirates evaluated his talent. Such a move was low risk. Lobstein was acquired for cash from the Detroit Tigers. Lacking top level velocity, he was someone that didn’t have an obvious or huge upside.
However, fast forward to spring training 2016. Lobstein has been impressive. He’s pitched seven scoreless innings so far striking out six and keeping his opponents to .167 at the plate. He’s at that make or break point in his career. He’s either big league talent or he’s not.
It was once speculated that Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage wasn’t going to be working with Lobstein. Early on, Lobstein indicated he had yet to really even talk with Searage. Of course, trying to improve the lefty’s velocity has been the target of every pitching coach of his in recent memory – so perhaps the Pirates weren’t then ready to commit to helping him.
But according to Adam Berry of MLB.com that’s exactly what is now happening with Lobstein in Bradenton.
Searage is now working his magic with Lobstein, according to the Berry article, to build arm strength – in the hopes of increasing velocity.
According to Lobstein, Searage’s tutelage has been helpful: “Every time on the mound, he’s there watching me, getting a feel for my style,” Lobstein said. “We’ve been working together this last week and a half or so, the last few bullpens. I think it’s translated well into the games these last two times out.”
This is an early indication that Lobstein is certainly a contender for the Pirates bullpen roster start. It’s not hard to envision him in a long relief role or doing spot lefty work to help the club.