As is to be expected, the throw in on a deal for 2 months of an injured pitcher isn’t super exciting. However, Ben Kline – joining Sean Bierman, whom Collin documented the other day – is at the very least interesting. I don’t mean “interesting” the way prospects people use it. I mean sort of unusual and cool to read about.
Kline was a 32nd round pick for the Rays in 2012 out of Embry Riddle – the university for aeronautics in Daytona Beach, Florida. I was somewhat surprised to see that Kline is not the first Embry Riddle graduate to be drafted – there have been a number, although none of them have made the majors. If Kline is ever to make the majors it will be because of his versatility and not because of any overwhelming skills.
Kline bounced around A/A+/A- this year for Tampa Bay as a 24-year old, and over two seasons has posted a .296/.351/.365 line. You don’t really need me to tell you that he has good contact skills and no power. His 17:47 career BB:K ratio isn’t inspiring either.
What’s cool about Kline is that he has played every position on the diamond except catcher, and has even pitched a couple of innings.
The overwhelming odds are that Kline will always be an organizational soldier. Given that fact, he’s a handy guy to have around. Wherever he is, he’ll give his manager a lot of flexibility to give guys days off, and facilitate roster moves by being able to slide wherever the new gap in the lineup will be.
So even though the most noteworthy thing Kline is likely to do is get traded for Jesse Crain, the organization still needs guys like this to grease the wheels of the whole operation.