A number of years ago, I wrote up some prospect looks during the offseason. As much as we love the stories of Frank Schwindel, Patrick Wisdom or whoever, the stories behind the players are equally valid at the lower levels. I plan to “introduce” you to quite a few players this off-season. It won’t only be the highly-ranked prospects. It won’t only be guys bound for Double-A. It won’t include players with an MLB debut already. I have reasons for doing this, and they don’t fit into a sentence. Today, this series begins with lefty pitcher Dalton Stambaugh.
Lefthanded pitcher. Born February 11, 1997 in Columbus, Ohio.
Drafted: 2019 30th Round, Morehead State (Orioles)
Signed by the Cubs as a free agent in 2021.
This season, the minor league campaign was riddled with pitcher injuries. Some happened to highly touted prospects and some were to pitchers getting a chance because the other guys were injured. It didn’t take long before teams started to look elsewhere. Pitchers who did well in Independent League began to get poached by MLB organizations to fill out both rotations and bullpens.
Stambaugh made four starts for the Evansville Otters in the Frontier League. As a lefty with a degree of success in rookie ball in 2019 in the Orioles organization, and having been released in large part because of COVID cancelling the 2020 season, he made sense. Stambaugh pitched in 14 games this season in the Cubs pipeline, with 10 of those in South Bend. He fanned 33 hitters over 28⅓ innings in Advanced-A Ball.
Stambaugh, if healthy, makes perfect sense in South Bend in 2022. Beyond that, it’s up to him.
Stambaugh went first to Mesa. His first game didn’t go well. About a week later, he pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. (Player development isn’t a straight line.) On July 14, he hopped a jet to South Bend. Picked up at the airport midgame, he was told “grab a jersey in case.” Sure enough, the game went into extra innings. Stambaugh earned the win as South Bend tallied the tying run in the ninth, and the winner in the 10th.
I bothered Stambaugh with a few questions, and he loves the competitiveness of Myrtle Beach pitcher Luis Devers. He’s not “there” yet, but if a pitcher is a good judge of another pitcher? Mind Devers into the future. Stambaugh and post-2021-draft free agent signing pitcher Tyler Santana will be friends forever. South Bend catcher/infielder Bryce Windham is someone who has really impressed Stambaugh.
Do you have some fun “offbeat” questions to ask prospects? If you are familiar with some of the Cubs prospects, do you have any fun tales to tell? I plan to get to a bunch of these. Whether they tell you anything more about their estimated times of arrival or not, I’ll have fun. The more you banter back, the better.