The Braves have claimed third baseman Kyle Kubitza off waivers from the Rangers, according to an announcement from Rangers VP of communications John Blake. Texas had designated the 26-year-old infielder for assignment earlier this week. The Braves, too, announced the move, adding that left-hander Manny Banuelos has been designated for assignment.
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Kubitza is a known commodity for the Braves, who selected him in the third round of the 2011 draft. The Texas State product ranked among the Braves’ top 30 prospects from 2011-14, per Baseball America, but he was traded to the Angels in January of 2015 in exchange for minor league lefty Ricardo Sanchez and minor league right-hander Nate Hyatt. Kubitza’s stock tumbled with the Halos, however, and he ultimately landed with Texas after Anaheim designated him for assignment. In 928 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, Kubitza is a .249/.342/.399 hitter. He’s walked in a strong 11.8 percent of his plate appearances at that level but has also struck out at a 25 percent clip. He has drawn praise in the past for a strong throwing arm and soft hands at third base.
Banuelos, 25, made his big league debut with Atlanta last season. The once-vaunted Yankees prospect managed just a 5.13 ERA in his 26 1/3 innings at the big league level, though, and the 2016 season has been a considerable struggle for him. He’s battled elbow issues this season and is currently on the disabled list with Double-A Mississippi. Banuelos has a collective 5.33 ERA in 50 2/3 innings across three minor league levels this season, and he walked more batters (22) than he struck out (21) in 30 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level.