San Diego Padres RHP Robert Stock waited a long time to get to the major leagues. He’s now making the most of this moment.
If the San Diego Padres are really good at something, it’s taking pitchers without much future in the bigs and turning them into valuable, exciting, and effective bullpen pieces. Robert Stock‘s path to the big leagues has been well documented but now the 28-year-old has found his home, at Petco Park in San Diego, California.
Stock entered Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the fifth inning, after another disastrous start by Walker Lockett. Stock struck out four hitters across 2.2 innings of work, allowing just two hits and hitting 100 mph on the radar gun.
After starting Odubel Herrera with an 81 mph changeup, Stock fired in fastballs at 98 mph, 98.6 mph, and then 100.3 mph to induce a groundball out to end the inning.
There was also the 99.1, 99.2, and 99.5 mph fastball sequence to strikeout Jorge Alfaro in the sixth inning.
Last time out against the Phillies, Stock lasted just two-thirds of an inning, giving up four runs on six hits at Citizens Bank Park. In fact, Stock has been tagged frequently on the road since joining the Padres.
He’s given up six runs on 13 hits in 8.1 road innings. At Petco Park, Stock has yet to allow a run on eight hits in nine innings of work.
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What is making Robert Stock so effective?
Using Baseball Savant’s pitching data, Stock has thrown 239 pitches this season, 44 of which have resulted in a batted ball. On only two occasions has a hitter barreled up a Robert Stock pitch (4.4%). The MLB average is 6.1%. The average exit velocity of batted balls against Stock this year has been 84.7 mph.
About a week ago, Bob Scanlan pointed out during a broadcast that Stock had worked very hard on developing his slider, while in the minor leagues. The slider has come around and when it’s paired with an upper-90s fastball, major league hitters have struggled, tremendously.
Stock uses his slider nearly 41% of the time, allowing just three base hits (all singles) with the 83 mph pitch (on average). It’s also produced 17 strikeouts and a 55% whiff rate. When hitters do make contact on the slider, its been a groundball 57% of the time, hit at an average of 73 mph. Good things happen when you miss the barrel of bats.
The San Diego Padres could feature two relief pitchers in next year’s bullpen who can reach back and top 100 mph, in Stock and Trey Wingenter. Stock continues to get better and better this season, throwing more strikes in the zone while allowing less contact on those pitches in the strike zone. That’s one of the bigger signs that point to a productive pitcher at the big league level. Stock is here to stay now, enjoy the heat.