Interview with pitching prospect, Lee Stoppelman

Christian Petersen

Viva El Birdos was able to submit questions to Cardinals pitching prospect, Lee Stoppelman. Below, you will find a brief prospect profile along with his answers. With less than a month before pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, we thank him for his time and wish him the best in the upcoming season.

Drafted out of the University of Central Missouri in the 24th round of the 2012 MLB Draft, left-handed reliever, Lee Stoppelman, has made quite the rise through the Cardinals' farm system. After being drafted in 2012, he was sent to the Batavia Muckdogs where he made 22 appearances and primarily served as the team's closer. In 2013, he pitched at three levels—High-A Palm Beach, Double-A Springfield, and Triple-A Memphis—with the bulk of his appearances (37 of the 55) coming while in Springfield.

Back in November, azruavatar took a look at the Cardinals' prospects participating in the Arizona Fall League. Stoppelman was one of them, and he gave a nice breakdown of what to expect from Lee in the future. In it, he talks about how Lee's future likely projects as a LOOGy, but I believe he has the stuff, deception, and potential to be more than that in the big league bullpen.

Below, you will find Stoppelman's numbers from 2013. Something of note is the sharp increase in BB/9 and FIP in Memphis and also in the Arizona Fall League. I would argue that a total of 12.1 innings is not a large of sample size to truly determine how he will fare in these two statistics at higher levels. His BABIP against as well as his K/9 are two statistics to keep an eye on in 2014 because these are two areas where he can truly excel.

LEVEL

TEAM

G

IP

BABIP

LOB%

K/9

BB/9

ERA

FIP

A+

PB

15

24.0

.262

69.2%

9.75

3.75

1.50

2.28

AA

SGF

37

40.0

.207

94.3%

11.25

3.15

1.35

2.88

AAA

MEM

3

2.0

.500

83.3%

9.00

9.00

4.50

4.20

AZ FL

SR

9

9.1

.200

86.2%

11.57

8.68

2.89

4.91


Viva El Birdos: Two seasons into your professional career with the Cardinals, what has been your favorite moment so far?

Lee Stoppelman: I have enjoyed both years. This past year was special with being promoted to Springfield. It was nice playing in my home state and having friends and family able to come to a lot of home games. Actually, when I was called up, I had a bunch of family in Branson so they all came to the game. For a lot of them it was there first time seeing me play so that was my favorite moment.

VEB: Last year had to be a whirlwind for you (Palm Beach to Springfield to Memphis all in one season). What was your favorite stop and why?

LS: I enjoyed Palm Beach because of the nice weather and location, but it had to be Springfield for the reasons mentioned before.

VEB: This is from one of my readers, do you have any good Chris Carpenter (or other Cardinal veterans) stories you would like to share?

LS: I don't have any stories. Maybe I will after big league camp this year.

VEB: In a nutshell, describe your repertoire: what's your best, most comfortable pitch and which pitch do you feel needs the most work?

LS: I have a fastball, change-up, and curveball. My fastball is my most comfortable pitch. The pitch I have been working hard on since being drafted is my curveball which towards the end of last year, I started becoming more confident with it and using it more.

VEB: With the way pitching promotions went last year, how excited are you about an opportunity to pitch in the majors as early as this season?

LS: I can't control what happens this next year. I am just looking forward to working hard with the opportunities that I get.

VEB: Cardinal fans got a glimpse of a pretty good lefty prospect last year (Kevin Siegrist). How would you compare yourself to him?

LS: I have never played with Kevin before. I know he has a very good fastball. It's hard to compare us when I haven't played with him.

VEB: What individual goals do you have set for yourself going into the 2014 season?

LS: My goals for the 2014 season are to have a strong year, stay healthy, and continue to work on all my pitches.

VEB: When do you go to camp? I assume you are going to big league camp this year?

LS: I am going to big league camp. [Pitchers and catchers report February 12th]

VEB: During the season, can you describe your routine on game day? When do you get to the park? Do you eat certain meals? Things like that...

LS: I usually get to the field around 2:30 and I will eat a snack and shake. I get all my training room stuff done after that. If there is time, maybe play some cards, then it is time to go throw. Once throwing is over, we shag BP.

Viva El Birdos wants to thank Lee again for participating in this interview for our site. We wish him the best at big league camp this spring. He will likely start the season in Memphis considering he only had two innings there last season. If this year is anything like last year with rookie pitchers (for injuries sake, let's hope not), we may be seeing Lee in the Busch Stadium bullpen very soon. With two years, $6 million left on Randy Choate's deal, I really do wonder what the future holds for Lee. We will soon find out.

Until next time...

Joe

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