While the Detroit Tigers haven’t made any big moves since the Cameron Maybin trade, Al Avila has signed several low-cost players who could see time in the Big Leagues.
Avila picked up Stumpf in the Rule-5 draft in early December. Since then, not much has been said about this 26-year-old (whose birthday happens to be today). So, here’s some information about this young pitcher who, as a lefty, has a chance of showing up on the mound in Detroit.
Not Insurance Against a Potential Trade
When Avila signed Stumpf, it was assumed that he was a possible replacement for Justin Wilson, since a few teams had their eyes on him. Avila was quick to deny that rumor when he said to Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: “No, it had nothing to do with Wilson. We just liked Stumpf. It wouldn’t be bad to have both.”
There is nothing wrong with having a collection of left-handed relief pitchers. But, is Stumpf really a good choice? Possibly, but he does have a few skeletons in his closet.
The Numbers on Stumpf
The 200-pound, 6’2 Stumpf began his baseball career in the Kansas City Royals organization when he was drafted in 2012 from San Jacinto College in Houston, Texas. He was with the Royals through 2016 when he was picked up in the Rule 5 Draft of 2016 by the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2016, he played at every level of Minor League ball and he pitched in seven games with the Phillies.
Unfortunately, his time with the Phillies did not go very well. He pitched in seven games, but in only five innings. He gave up nine hits and six runs, giving him an ERA of 10.80 and a WHIP of 2.20
During his Minor League time, his numbers were a mixed bag. His best pitching was with the Royals Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals. He pitched in 21.1 innings, giving up 5 runs, earning an ERA of 2.11 and a respectable WHIP of 0.844.
When he moved up to the Triple-A Phillies team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, his limited numbers were less than impressive. In one inning pitched, he gave up three runs. Overall, in 2016, he did not pitch in many innings, so his numbers do not reveal much.
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According to McCosky with The Detroit News, Stumpf has a mixed bag of pitches, too. His change up is clocked at 86 mph. He throws a slider that sinks slowly and a 92-mph four-seam fastball. That is a nice variety for a relief pitcher.
Stumpf has already seen his fair share of controversy. In 2016, he was suspended for 80 games due to a PED violation for testing positive to dehydrochlormethyltestosterone. According to an article by Mike Axisa with CBSSports.com, the violation allowed the Phillies to DFA him and return him to the Royals. With the Rule 5 Draft, since Stumpf did not stay on the Phillies’ 25-man roster, he was offered back to Kansas City instead of being put on waivers. The Royals took him back but gladly gave him to the Tigers in the latest Rule 5 Draft. He was suspended in April, so he was able to return to play later in the season.
Hopefully, in his time with the Tigers, Stumpf will remain clean. He will be competing against the other bullpen pitchers, like Justin Wilson, Blaine Hardy, and Kyle Ryan for a spot on the roster. It will be interesting to keep an eye on him during Spring Training.