Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Steven Brault in the Travis Snider trade, Stephen Tarpley was considered the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 23rd best prospect by MLB Pipeline in 2015. Tarpley was acquired by the Bucs after a season where he pitched 66.1 innings and posted a solid 3.66 ERA, 3.91 FIP, and 3.67 xFIP. Tarpley’s biggest strength was keeping the ball in the park, as he surrendered just 4 home runs.
During his first year in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, Tarpley had an excellent season. With the Single-A West Virginia Power, the lefty starter threw 116 innings. He let up an ERA of just 2.48, a 2.86 FIP, and 1.147 WHIP. Although he posted a decent but not great strikeout rate of 21.3%, he walked only 5.1% of the batters he faced. Like in 2014, Tarpley was immune to the longball, surrendering just 2.
In 2016 at Double-A, Tarpley struggled as his ERA rose above 4 to 4.22 and his FIP and xFIP looked like it did in 2014 (3.93/3.68). Although his strikeout rate only fell by .4%, his walk rate increased to 8.6%. The Pittsburgh Pirates packaged him and Tito Polo together to be sent to the New York Yankees for starting pitcher Ivan Nova.
After the trade, Tarpley made the transition to the bullpen where he did fairly well for himself. In 2017, Tarpley threw 41 innings of .88 ERA, 2.72 FIP ball between High-A and Double-A. The southpaw continued his success in 2018 when he had a 2.20 ERA, .962 WHIP, and a 3.05 FIP in 69.2 innings of work. Tarpley eventually got the call to the show and appeared in 10 innings. Although he struck out 13 batters in 9 innings, he also walked 6.
In 2019, he didn’t do as great compared to previous seasons with a 3.13 ERA and 3.67 xFIP, but 4.04 FIP. At the major league level, Tarpley really struggled surrendering 19 earned runs, 6 home runs, and 15 walks in 24.2 innings of work. The Yanks traded Stephen Tarpley to the Miami Marlins this past offseason to the Miami Marlins in exchange for a minor league third baseman.