STEPHEN TARPLEY, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: February 17, 1993
Drafted: 3rd Round, 98th Overall, 2013 (Orioles)
How Acquired: Trade (from Orioles for Travis Snider)
College: Scottsdale (AZ) CC
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Tarpley was drafted out of high school but didn’t sign, and then pitched very well as a freshman starter at USC. He transferred to a junior college, where he dominated, and went to the Orioles in the third round in 2013. He’s an athletic pitcher who throws in the low-90s with good life and has reached 97. He also throws a curve and change, and has had strong groundball tendencies so far. He’s sometimes taken a couple of innings to reach his normal velocity and may have more ceiling if he improves his delivery. Baseball America ranked 21st in the Baltimore system after 2013 and he would have moved up a year later. Some people considered him a sleeper prospect. The Pirates acquired Tarpley and Steven Brault for Travis Snider.
Tarpley had a nice debut in seven rookie league starts, with a good K rate. At 20, though, he was a little older than ideal for that level.
Tarpley was expected to go to low A for his first full year, but he struggled in spring training and then had a rough first month in the NYPL, getting hammered for a 1.009 OPS in his first three starts. He held opponents to .664 and 6.93 in July and August, though, and sat at 92-94. He did not have a platoon split. Tarpley also impressed observers in fall instructionals.
Tarpley was scratched from his last two spring training starts due to shoulder fatigue, but he joined the West Virginia Power in late May. He had an outstanding year, with excellent walk and K rates, a good groundball rate, only two HRs allowed, and a 241/295/299 opponents’ batting line. He got better as the season went along. After a slightly rough June, he held opponents to an OPS of .468 in July and .575 in August. Opposing left-handed batters had an OPS of .545, right-handed batters .612. He also went deep into some games, going seven innings twice and eight once in a 17-day stretch in August.
Both pitchers from the Snider trade have now established themselves among the Pirates’ better pitching prospects. Not only that, the Pirates re-acquired Snider late in the season. Assuming he has no health issues, Tarpley should be able to handle something close to a full workload at Bradenton, which is where he’ll no doubt open the 2016 season.
|2016: Minor league contract|
|Signing Bonus: $525,500
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 7, 2011: Drafted in the 8th round, 248th overall, by the Cleveland Indians.
June 7, 2013: Drafted in the 3rd round, 98th overall, by the Baltimore Orioles; signed on June 22.
January 27, 2015: Traded by the Baltimore Orioles with a player to be named later to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Travis Snider; PTBNL identified on February 20 as Steven Brault.