The Cardinals reassigned left-handed catcher Robert Stock to minor league camp yesterday, as a right-handed pitcher. Coming out of college, lots of scouts liked him more for his arm than his bat. Let’s take a look after the jump at what the Cardinals have in their brand new pitcher. (Thanks commenters for the heads up to the story.)
“It wasn’t something he was happy to hear,” said Matheny. “He wanted to make a great run at catching, but I think he’s got a bright future as a pitcher.”
Asked if Stock had any of those characteristics, Matheny replied, “Yeah, upper 90s (velocity). Upper 90s always gives you a pretty good shot at getting up there.”
It seems to me that Stock really wanted to be a catcher and a hitter for his baseball career. The Cardinals played into those notions as they announced him as a catcher at the draft and let him catch. The number one reason why they let Stock catch is so that they could get him to sign a contract after the draft and still have his rights if he needed to make the change to pitching, where most thought he had a higher ceiling. Three years later, he only had one good offensive stint and that was in his first year at Johnson City. He hasn’t crossed the .700 OPS line in any stops since. Stock is resisting the move, but with the success the Cardinals have had with Jason Motte and others, Mr. Stock should see the writing on the wall and that his path to the majors is on the mound.
Motte and Stock are not really comparable pitchers as Stock already has a three pitch arsenal and Motte only had his fastball (some would say he still only has his fastball). Let’s take a look at the scouting report for Stock.
The Trojans turned to Stock as a starter this year, and he has delivered. He made his first start March 29 and beat Arizona State, striking out 10 in five innings, and hasn’t looked back, registering a complete-game win at Arizona and showing surprising polish. His delivery is fairly easy, giving him good control of an 88-92 mph fastball that can hit 95 and a surprisingly good changeup that some scouts consider a plus pitch. His low-80s breaking ball also grades out as average, and Stock now figures to go out in the first three rounds as a pitcher—if he proves signable.
Here’s his USC MLB Draft pitching video so that you can see for yourself. I love his 80 MPH change-up.
What do you think about the move? Are the Cardinals adding a 3rd or 4th starter prospect to their system with this move?