Being from the East Coast (more specifically South Jersey), it was a big deal when Chris Lubanski was drafted fifth overall in the 2003 draft by the KC Royals. He won national awards as a high schooler out of Kennedy-Kenrick High School in Pennsylvania and the future looked bright.
It was not like Lubanski was a true bust. Sure, he did not reach the big leagues. But he was an All-Star at every level and hit .278 in 835 career minor league at-bats.
Lubanski does not consider himself a bust. He just never got a chance.
“No, I do not view myself as a bust,” Lubanski said. “I look at my minor league numbers. I’m right around a .280 career hitter, I have over 100 career homeruns, an All-Star at every level. I think I did everything that was asked of me.”
Injuries probably played a part in why he never even received a cup of coffee. In 2009, he was hitting well before a torn hamstring put him on the shelf for four months (and he only hit .227). After the Royals let him go following that season, Lubanski joined Toronto and hit .293 with Triple-A Las Vegas. He was a Triple-A All-Star, but ended the season on the DL with a torn oblique.
In 2011, he signed with Florida, but was released in spring training (which was a shock to him). Lubanski spent some time in independent ball before ending the season with Double-A Reading, where he hit just .189 in 19 games with 16 strikeouts. I saw him a few times and he was a shell of what he once was.
Lubanski called it a career after the 2011 season and enrolled at Villanova as an engineering major, as much of his tuition is paid for as part of his draft deal with the Royals. He wanted options other than baseball and did not want to be a 30 something year old freshmen. He did not like how getting to the big leagues became sort of an obsession for him.
He has thought about writing a book that he already has a title for: “The True Story of a First Round Bust”.
Last October, Lubanski was named the head baseball coach at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. The team went 6-4 and advanced to the semifinals of the PA Independent Schools tournament. However, he stepped down after the season.
Lubanski is still enrolled at Villanova and is also an associate scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and an independent instructor.
In an interview with Tom Kerrane of The Times Herald, Lubanki said without a doubt that his career is over.