News and Articles
  • Nov

    2013 Number 13 prospect: Stephen Tarpley

    Written by Lee Tackett


    #13  - Stephen Tarpley - LHP
    Ht Wt  Bats Throws Born Draft
    6-2 180 L L  1/17/93 2nd Rd (2013)

    Scouting Grades - Definitions

    Current 2 Most Likely NA Ceiling 6
    Major League Target Date


    2013 Stats - Full stats

    GCO 21 20 0 3 25 2.14 1.095 .256 8.6 0.0 1.3 10.7 8.33

    Bio: Much of Tarpley’s 2013 professional season was wiped out due to a bout with mononucleosis, but in his limited time in Sarasota, he made quite an impression. Tarpley began his college career at Southern California and earned freshman All-American honors while having a 3.22 ERA in 78.1 innings. Transfers happen for many reasons and there were whispers about Tarpley’s off field makeup, but nothing has been substantiated. Tarpley chose to spend the 2013 season at Scottsdale Community College and consequently became eligible for the draft and was signed to a $525,500 bonus. His illness kept him from joining those his age at Aberdeen, but Tarpley blew through the GCL with an 8.33 K/BB ratio.

    Stuff: Once Tarpley regained his strength and joined the GCL Orioles, he flashed plus stuff consistent with his pre draft scouting report. His fastball ran from 89-94 with good arm side run and his velocity increased the deeper he went into games and stabilized closer to 94. Per the organization’s suggestion, Tarpley scrapped his slider and resumed throwing a curveball, which he seemed to be comfortable with and it flashed plus potential. His changeup is further along than his curveball, but he needs to sure up the command on both pitches. Tarpley has a very athletic delivery, but it comes with some effort and he will benefit from the extra repetitions in pro ball.

    Pitchability and Intangibles: Tarpley showed swing and miss pitches both in college and in pro ball, where he struck out over a batter an inning. Mechanical tweaks to his delivery should make him more consistent and he needs to improve his feel and knowledge for pitching. The “character issues” red flag came from a prominent national writer, but again, there is no hard evidence that Tarpley did anything wrong. USC has been a program in turmoil with coaching changes and it is actually somewhat common for a player to have a breakout freshman year then opt for junior college to make the move to pro ball a year sooner. So far, Tarpley has earned high marks for his competitiveness and focus on his craft.

    Conclusion: Had Tarpley stayed at USC and simply replicated his freshman year results for two more seasons, he likely would have been a first round pick. The Orioles saw value in a lefty who has a three-pitch mix that suggests he could be a starter, but also has the plus fastball to transition into a reliever if necessary. Hopefully Tarpley will benefit from the consistency of taking his coaching from one voice and continue to refine his mechanics and command. The organization is committed to trying Tarpley out as a starter, so he will likely begin 2014 in the Delmarva rotation.

    Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board