Jun 2, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals pitcher Dace Kime (35) throws a pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Louisville regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Jim Patterson Stadium. Louisville defeated Oklahoma State 12-3. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Prospect to Watch: Dace Kime

Dace Kime Could Be a Breakout Prospect in 2014

Dace Kime was the Cleveland Indians’ 3rd round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft out of the University of Louisville. The 6’4″ right-handed pitcher from Defiance, Ohio put together a solid career for the Cardinals, however, it was mostly in relief. Kime started just 11 games in his three seasons at Louisville, making 69 total appearances and posting a 3.73 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP over 135 total innings with a 150:54 K:BB.

He was a major part of a very successful Louisville team, and his collegiate background is just the tip of the iceberg when compared to his prep success.

Kime was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 8th round of the 2010 MLB Draft after dominating at Defiance High School while posting a 26-2 record from his sophomore through his senior seasons with ERAs of 0.66, 0.70, and 1.31, and 278 strikeouts. While amateur success is meaningless at this point, it does provide a little insight into Kime’s pedigree.

Kime’s introduction to professional baseball had its ups and downs:

Year Age Tm Lg Lev W L ERA GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2013 21 Mahoning Valley NYPL A- 0 2 2.92 9 0 0 24.2 19 9 8 0 16 26 1.419 6.9 9.5 1.63
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/30/2013.

 

It is hard to judge Dace Kime’s abilities on just 24.2 innings, but the 26 strikeouts (9.5 per nine)  and 6.9 hits per nine are solid signs in the stuff, which consists of a low-90′s fastball (that can touch higher) and a very good curveball. He kept the ball in the park, which is always a good thing. While I was WAY off on Dorssys Paulino last season and the prospect game will continue to be one with many guesses, gambles, and ideas built on individual sentiments, Kime does have the frame and stuff, once harnessed, to be a viable asset in the middle of the Indians’ rotation within the next couple of seasons.

 

Dace Kime

Jun 2, 2013; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals pitcher Dace Kime (35) throws a pitch in the bottom of the first inning against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Louisville regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Jim Patterson Stadium. Louisville defeated Oklahoma State 12-3. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

What others are saying about Dace Kime:

Frankie Peliere of Baseball Prospectus:

“Kime saw an increase in velocity this spring, as well as overall stuff, and has the look of a pitcher who could work in the middle of a big league rotation.”

Rich Wilson of Prospects361.com:

“He has size at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds with a fastball that sits in the low 90’s and can touch higher with a plus curve ball.  His control can come and go as was evident in his 24.2 innings in the New York Penn League where he walked 16.  The pitching mechanics are pretty good with nice momentum, good posture and balance, although his balance does leave him falling to the first base side.  The control problems come from poor timing that is causing him to lose his release point and should be correctable as he works through the development process.”

Brad Grant, Indians director of amateur scouting (via Mark Emery of MLB.com):

“Brad Grant, the Indians’ director of amateur scouting, described Kime’s arsenal as having ‘a solid-average fastball up to 94 [mph], an average breaking ball, average changeup and a cutter, as well…We see his upside as a starter,” Grant said. “I think as we start to stretch him out, he’s got a chance to be a pretty good rotation guy for us.’” 

From TheScoutingBook.com:

“His fastball is a mid-90′s offering that comes in on a nice downward angle thanks to his height and a little natural sink, which suggests he’ll be a ground-ball pitcher in MLB. He mixes in a cutter with a little bite as well as a better-than-average change and occasional curve, but none of these have the seasoning they’ll need before they’re really viable in pro ball. While some college pitchers are ready for MLB right away, Kime isn’t one of these: give him a couple of years.”

And, finally, video of Dace Kime from Jeff Reese (Twitter: @Ioffridus) of BullpenBanter.com (refresh if video fails to load):

I spoke with Reese for his evaluation on Kime, and this is what he had to say:

“In his first professional start Dace Kime worked two innings against the Williamsport Crosscutters. Kime has the attributes of a starting pitcher with his large, sturdy frame (6’6″ 220 lbs.), low effort delivery, and loose 3/4 arm action. He showcased a solid array of offerings, but the quality and command of each will have to take a step forward for him to fulfill such a role. Kime’s fastball sat 89-91 MPH (touched 92) with inconsistent life. Movement on the pitch would vary from slight arm side run/sink to some gentle cutting action. His command of the fastball was below average, showing some ability to move the pitch around the zone but frequently missing the intended target by a significant margin. 

Kime’s off-speed pitches showed a bit more potential (at least on this night) than the fastball. He employed a big 11-5 curve ball as his breaking pitch; it featured nice depth and tight spin at 77-79 MPH. Results were mixed with one painting his arm side’s corner for a called third strike and another grooved down the middle of the plate for a stand up double. Kime’s change up was his most effective weapon, accounting for his two swinging strikes. Coming in at around 83 MPH, the pitch showed nice late fading action and overall deception. It should be noted that hitters in short season ball are particularly susceptive to change ups.

The fastball has seen higher peaks during his time at Louisville; given the circumstances (3 week layoff, new environment, long college season), it’s not a major issue that his velocity was a bit depressed in this outing. The key area to watch is how much improvement he shows commanding his repertoire.”

Size and stuff is always a pretty intriguing combination, so I’m buying Dace Kime as a breakout prospect for the Tribe in 2014. We’ll have to wait and see where they start him off, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him reach Akron, home of the Rubber Ducks, in 2014 if things, mainly his mechanics and velocity, work positively for the big right-hander and the Indians. The apparent solid secondary offerings seem legit, so if he gets better feeling for the fastball and its location, Kime could become a well-known name on next season’s prospect lists.

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