Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Five Prospects LHP
#2 Stephen Tarpley
Stephen Tarpley is 6 feet 2.5 inches and 190lbs and was a 3rd round pick in 2013 by the Baltimore Orioles. On January 27th of 2015 the Pirates sent Travis Snider to the Baltimore Orioles for two young left-handed pitching prospects in Stephen Tarpley and Steven Brault (who was a PTBNL). Both performed very well in their first season, but Tarpley did not receive as much press due to pitching in West Virginia.
Last season he spent the whole season at Low-A West Virginia Power and started 20 games. In those 20 games Tarpley was very strong throwing to a 2.48 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Batters did hit .241 off of Tarpley, but he also struck out 105 batters in 116 IP. Tarpley has a little more life on his fastball as he typically sits 92-95 and has hit 97.
As his strikeouts suggest he has the ability to strikeout almost a batter per inning due to his 3/4 arm angle. Tarpley possesses a potential plus change-up which he has good command of. His change-up needed work coming into this past year mainly on the mechanical side of things, and it did improve.
He also throws a 10-4 curve-ball that continues to improve each year. Typically, Tarpley throws his curve-ball in the upper 70’s, but is looking to add more velocity to it to help with deception. Tarpley also started throwing a slider this season, and he showed the ability to throw it effectively at times. With that being said his slider still needs some work.
Tarpley suffered an oblique injury late in March. Because of this he has not thrown at High-A yet this year, but will make his début soon. One reason Waddell was promoted to AA was because they needed to make room in the rotation in Bradenton for Tarpley. Tarpley has a very high ceiling. Personally I am the highest on him out of all the lefties on this list, but he also has to prove to stay healthy and continue to succeed at the higher levels of the minors. Tarpley’s build and stuff projects to be a #2 type pitcher. With all that said, it was hard to rank him in front of the next left-hander.
Next: He could make the big leagues soon