Welcome to “Get To Know a Nat.” There are currently 39 men on the 40 man roster, and we’re going to give you the straight scoop on all of them! Not sure where to start with player and season previews? Not ready to jump into heavy metrics? Just want to get to know the players, what they do, and what to expect from them in 2013? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Name: Craig N. Stammen
Nickname(s): Not That I’ve Found
DOB: March 9, 1984 (Age 28)
From: Versailles, Ohio
Position: Relief Pitcher Bullpen Role: Long Reliever
With the Nats Since: Drafted in 2005 by Nationals, Debuted in 2009.
Craig Stammen is a converted starting pitcher drafted by the Nationals that now pitches in the bullpen. Primarily, Stammen comes in as right handed relief, particularly in long relief when a starter struggles and needs to be pulled out early. Last year was Stammen’s first coming out of the pen and he did very well. In 59 games, 28 of them featured Stammen pitching in 2 or more innings. He does well against lefties and righties. You can also think of him as a mini-starter of sorts-and one that was very successful in 2012.
What’s Expected: Looking at Stammen’s Baseball Reference statistics:
In 88.1 Innings Pitched, Stammen recorded 87 strikeouts and posted a WHIP of 1.2. His ERA and FIP are also pretty darn good as well, which is indicative of why he’s succeeded in his current role. As a former starting pitcher, he has several different pitches he throws. Fastball, Sinker and Slider- Stammen’s success is probably also due in part to his increased average velocity on his pitches. (Go check out fangraphs for more info).
Stammen is one of many Nationals that is simply going to be asked to do what he did last year. I don’t see a lot of reason why he wouldn’t, either. We’ve talked about Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) and how as it gets away from about .300 it starts to indicate a certain level of luck. Stammen’s .265 is fairly low, but not so low as to be absurd or indicative of a guy getting too much luck.
If It All Goes Wrong: It’d be hard to figure out where the problems would occur, so let’s just assume it happens for some reason. The loss of a long relief pitcher puts added stress on the Nationals. Starting Pitchers can’t have a bad day, Davey Johnson may be prone to leave them in too long (with no reliable back up) and the Nationals bullpen doesn’t have a very good option for long right handed relief. If this were to happen, I’d expect the Nationals to hand this role over to a younger guy via call-up, (Possibly Christian Garcia who the team wants to eventually try his hand at starting).
If It All Goes Right: While it is never ideal to have your starter knocked out early, the Nationals rest easier knowing they are never out of a game that Craig Stammen is pitching in. He makes several spot appearances in innings where a right handed pitcher is needed, and if the starters aren’t missing starts or getting pulled early, Stammen may start a game just to make sure he gets enough work so that his arm stays warm. The only tough thing about having so many arms is making sure that they all get work. If Stammen is effective he will be saving those starting arms for long seasons that go well in to October.
Get To Know More Nats!
Starting Rotation: Ross Detwiler, Dan Haren
Outfielders: Bryce Harper, Denard Span, Jayson Werth
Catchers: Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki
Infielders: Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche
Bench: Tyler Moore, Roger Bernadina
Bullpen: Ryan Mattheus
Callups: Part I, Part II