The first three September call-ups have been announced for the New York Yankees. Familiar faces Luis Cessa and Tyler Wade join LHP Stephen Tarpley on the big league roster.
Stephen Tarpley, a lefty reliever, will join the Yankees when rosters expand on Saturday, says @ByDJEberle. Also, Cessa and Wade will be recalled. Boone said Sheffield wouldn’t be called up on Saturday, but that’s inevitable.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) September 1, 2018
What do we know about Tarpley?
Tarpley is the 25-year-old, left-handed pitching prospect that has been well-traveled since the Baltimore Orioles selected him in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft. The Orioles sent him to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015 for Travis Snyder and then the Pirates sent Tarpley to the Yankees in 2016 in the Nova deal. He survived the Rule 5 Draft last season, and returned to the Yankees, apparently making every pitch count.
Listed at 6’1”, 235, Tarpley is primarily a two-pitch reliever that can generate strikeouts and weak contact.
When Tarpley began his career as a starter, he had three pitches. Most reports indicate he’s cut loose the changeup and works with a new, hard sinker and sharp slider, both quickly becoming plus pitches.
Last season, Tarpley dealt with injury and saw a dip in his velocity. Per River Ave Blues, that velocity is back and then some, sitting 94-95 with that deadly sinker. He generates plenty of swing and miss, striking out 71 in 69.2 innings split between Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The big thing to watch is his absurd ground ball rate, an obvious advantage with the short porches at Yankees Stadium. With the RailRiders in 2018, he’s posting a 66.3 percent ground ball rate to just a 16.3 percent fly ball rate. Tarpley seems like a solid fit as a left-handed specialist in the Bronx, but has shown an ability to throw innings in relief from his days as a starter.
Tarpley has had a fantastic 2018. He started the year in Trenton and hasn’t missed a beat in his Triple-A debut. He’s gone a combined 7-2 with a 1.94 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Along with that ground ball contact, he’s limited hitters to a .168 BAA while striking out 71 and walking 26 in 69.2 innings.
Now 25, Tarpley seems ready to show what he’s got. The way he’s adapted to both a new pitch and new role quickly is impressive. Now we’ll see how he adapts to Major League Baseball.