Daniel Stumpf came to the Tigers in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. He was actually taken by the Phillies in the 2015 Rule 5 draft, but was returned to the Royals after just five innings in the big leagues.
He spent the rest of the season in the Royals minor league system before the Tigers snatched him up last year.
This time he did not get returned, as the Tigers squeezed 37.2 innings out of the left-hander across 55 games.
Stumpf looked solid in his first extended look in the big leagues. He finished with a 3.82 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP and a nice 120 ERA+.
Stumpf had much better results against left-handed hitters last season, although his stats don’t exactly back that up. Left-handers hit .213/.324/.288 off Stumpf in 2017, compared to right-handers who hit .293/.348/.525.
However, Stumpf actually posted LOWER strikeout rates and HIGHER walk rates against left-handed hitters.
The biggest difference is the ground-ball rates. Left-handers hit the ball on the ground 47.9% of the time against Stumpf, compared to 38.7% for right-handers.
This unusual sequence is not ideal for Stumpf’s projections next season. If he is going to be used as a situational lefty going forward (which seems likely) than he will need to improve his strikeout and walk numbers against them going forward.
If he is unable to find success against left-handers next season, he could be used more in a middle relief role while the Tigers turn to the pitcher on our next slide to be their situational lefty.