Stephen Tarpley: Prospect Profile for Baltimore Orioles 3rd-Round Pick

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Stephen Tarpley: Prospect Profile for Baltimore Orioles 3rd-Round Pick
Image courtesy of USC Baseball

Player: Stephen Tarpley

Drafted by: Baltimore Orioles (No. 98 overall)

Position: LHP

DOB: 2/17/1993 (Age: 20)

Height/Weight: 6'2"/200 lbs.

Bats/Throws: R/L

School: Scottsdale Community College 

Previously Drafted: 2011: 8th round by Cleveland Indians

 

Background

Tarpley was a promising high school pitcher with plenty of upside when the Cleveland Indians took him in the eighth round of the 2011 draft. In just two years his pitching has greatly improved. 

There is still plenty of upside remaining. Tarpley's frame has filled out but his stuff is still coming along. The velocity won't (likely) increase but with a few minor tweaks he could have a great four-pitch arsenal. 

 

Full Scouting Report

Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.


Body/Mechanics:

Very good pitcher's frame; lean frame that could stand add another five to 10 pounds; stays over the rubber well in his delivery; athletic body; clean, easy mechanics; excellent body control and poise on the mound; solid extension out front. 

Courtesy of MLB.com

 

Fastball: 50/55

Already shows average fastball; velocity sits in the 89-91 range and can touch 93-94 on occasion; won't add much to the pitch in the future but has good enough delivery to maintain above-average velocity in the future; no significant movement, so must work on keeping pitch down to succeed. 

 

Curveball: 45/50

Shows feel for curveball; release point tends to vary, leading to pitch bouncing in the dirt; doesn't get on top of the ball to drive it down in the zone; three-quarter arm angle doesn't give pitch enough consistent snap.

 

Slider: 45/55

Slider will be best secondary pitch; arm angle gives it sharp tilt, and late break makes it a swing-and-miss offering; feel for the pitch is solid and will continue to get better as he throws it more against advanced hitters. 

 

Changeup: 40/50

Hasn't had to use changeup much in college; won't need it assuming fastball and slider develop as expected but will have to show it against right-handed hitters; pitch can be too firm out of his hand, catching a lot of barrels; shows average projection in the future. 

 

Control: 45/55

Fringe-average feel for deep arsenal of pitches already; three-quarter delivery gives him some movement; understands how to work the strike zone; unafraid to attack hitters aggressively; stays around the zone. 

 

Command: 40/50

Still learning to pitch; doesn't hit enough spots with the ball, leading to more hard hit balls than you would like to see; since he is always around the zone, hitters know they can be aggressive with him; given athleticism and arsenal, should have average command in the future. 

 

MLB Player Comparison: Chris Capuano

 

Projection: No. 4 starter who can eat innings in rotation. 

 

MLB ETA: 2016

 

Chances of Signing: 75%

Tarpley is a really nice sleeper pick in this year's draft. It is not a deep class, so flying under the radar is actually difficult, but a left-handed starter who can touch 93-94 and will flash four average pitches is a commodity. 

Being just two years removed from high school, Tarpley enters professional baseball younger than the typical college player, so he has a little more time to develop. There is always a market for starting pitching, especially from the left side. He is going to get signed this year. If he doesn't, it would be a huge disappointment. 

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