From 2009 to 2011, it was a difficult task to find a finer baseball player on the Central Coast than the one that was ruling the diamond in Arroyo Grande.
Kyle Raubinger was just that good.
There have been stellar position players and star hitters around the area the past decade. There have been numerous ace pitchers who have dominated the competition.
But did any player over the last decade impact the game in the all ways Raubinger did?
His resume at Arroyo Grande High School is certainly tough to match.
Raubinger played in 84 career varsity games with 254 at-bats. During that time, he hit .417.
In his sophomore season, Raubinger played in 25 games and hit .405 against the area's best competition in the PAC 7 League. He drove in 24 runs that year, scored 19 times and notched 32 hits.
Then he did a bit better his junior season. He went 35-for-84 that year to hit .417 with 30 RBIs, 31 runs, 11 doubles and five home runs.
Somehow, Raubinger found a way to bump his average again. He hit .419 in 29 games as a senior, going 36-for-86 with 25 RBIs, 29 runs, 11 doubles and seven home runs.
For his career, Raubinger went 106-for-254 with 81 RBIs, 80 runs, 27 doubles, three triples and 16 home runs.
Again, though, Raubinger wasn't a one-dimensional player. He could play a multitude of infield positions, but was especially strong at third base.
Raubinger was also his team's best starting pitcher for his final two years of high school. He went 18-3 over his final three seasons with 12 complete games and five shutouts.
During his senior season, Raubinger went 9-1 with a 1.25 ERA over 61 2/3 innings. He struck out 65 batters and walked just 12.
In his junior season, Raubinger went 9-1 with a 1.78 ERA over 59 innings with 54 Ks and 12 walks.
For his work at the plate and on the hill, Raubinger has been chosen as the Times' next Player of the Decade nominee.
Raubinger was named the Times' All-Area MVP in 2011. That was also the year that Raubinger was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 28th round.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder instead opted for college, where he signed with Loyola Marymount.
Brad Lachemann, who recently retired after coaching the AGHS program for 20 years, said last year that "Kyle was the best pitcher we ever had."
Raubinger was chosen to play in the prestigious Area Code Games in 2010. Raubinger hit .500 for the tournament and didn’t commit an error playing at his usual third base.
In a display of his ability and mental fortitude, Raubinger went to those Area Code Games in the summer of 2010 not long after his father David suffered a stroke.
“It was scary,” Raubinger said in August of 2010. “I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t help him or anything. I was just scared.”
On Wednesday, UCSB finally broke a 20-or-so-year drought. The Gauchos have been picked as the favorites in their own conference in the Big West preseason poll. In a press release Wednesday, the school said that it's the first time "in over 20 years" that UCSB was picked to win its own conference.
David suffered the stroke just a day before the final tryouts for the Area Code Games.
“Well, when I found out about my dad, I wasn’t really worrying about the Area Code Games. It was the last thing on my mind,” Raubinger said then.
He was clearly ready to skip the tryouts altogether.
“I didn’t really want to go."
Raubginer's mother then relayed a message from his father that all but forced him to go on.
“My mom just told me that he wanted me to go,” Raubinger said. David eventually recovered from his stroke and was able to attend Raubinger's outing at the ACGs.
The Times is polling current and former coaches to develop its list of nominees for Player of the Decade. A tournament-style voting contest will be held to determine the Player of the Decade. Readers will be able to vote online at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com. Players from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County whose final seasons where between 2010 and 2020 are eligible.
Raubinger joins the list of previous nominees, including Nipomo High grads Ryan and Jeff McNeil; Lucas Martin, a left-hander from Lompoc; Pioneer Valley grad Chad De La Guerra; former Santa Maria High star Trevor Garcia; Santa Ynez grads Tommy Rowan and Zach Torra; Righetti grad Troy Prober and fellow former Arroyo Grande star Ryan Teixeira.