Everyone knows the big name coming out of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft for the KC Royals: top prospect Kyle Zimmer. You also have probably heard of lefty starter Sam Selman out of Vanderbilt, who earned High-A Wilmington Pitcher of the Year honors. Selman has huge upside if he can consistently find some control.
However, the Royals may have found some very good players later in the draft. Since pitchers and catchers report for big league spring training next week, now is a perfect time to take a look back at some of those later round players from the 2012 and 2013 drafts.
One of those is left-handed pitcher Daniel Stumpf, who was drafted in the ninth round out of San Jacinto Community College. In his first full season of professional baseball in 2013, he was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week twice (one of those came when he threw a complete game no-hitter on July 2nd) and was a post season All-Star.
Overall with Low-A Lexington, Stumpf was 10-10 with a 3.07 ERA in 25 starts, including four complete games. The complete games are important considering the Royals tend to hold pitchers back and that means he is making it through games with less pitches (hint to all those strikeout lovers out there). In 137.2 innings, he allowed just 103 hits (though ten of those left the ballpark) and walked 50, while striking out 117.
Stumpf was dominant in all but one month: June (6.93 ERA in five starts). In that month, he allowed the most home runs (three) than any other month and also walked more (15). In every other month, he never walked more than nine.
However, Stumpf rebounded to dominate in July, completing two of his five starts (1.69 ERA). In 32 innings, opponents only collected 19 hits off him and he had his highest GO/AO rate of 1.80.
Other than his last two starts of the season, Stumpf threw at least six innings in nine straight and 13 of his 25 total starts.
Stumpf was off to a great start before his bumpy June. Through April and May, he was 3-3 in nine starts. Over 47.1 innings, he allowed 36 hits (just three homers). He walked 18 and struck out 47.
He just needs to work on fine-tuning his breaking ball to become a legit back end of the rotation big league starter, or he could work out fine as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. Stumpf is a big kid (6’2, 200 pounds) and throws hard, which scouts love.
I expect Stumpf to start the 2014 season with High-A Wilmington, as most of the Legends pitching staff should earn a promotion after having the SAL’s best pitching staff. The Carolina League is a pitchers’ league, so he should not have much trouble adjusting. The workhorse is something rare in the Royals farm system. As I mentioned earlier, pitchers tend to get held back.