Craig Stammen and the “experience” he has had in the game of baseball have been critical for the development of the youthful San Diego Padres’ bullpen.
The San Diego Padres have leaned heavily on Craig Stammen in 2019.
He has pitched in 51 of 108 games this season, and though he has had some rough outings, he has been mostly reliable for the Padres. Stammen has only allowed one run in his last 15 appearances for the Friars. His 3.44 ERA and 1.29 WHIP are solid as usual from the 35-year-old pitcher.
Numbers aside, his most valuable commodity to the Padres is the fact he has pitched in over 415 major league games. In a team full of rookie pitchers, Stammen has been a mentor for many. “I have a little bit of experience. That is one thing they are looking to gain. I just want them to fell apart of the team and welcomed,” Stammen said in regards to all the young pitchers that have strolled into the locker room this season. “They need to know they are a huge part of the team. The quicker they fall in line with big-league life, the quicker we will be on our way,” Stammen said.
It is not just welcoming the players that is needed by the team. That is the natural part. Being there for these young pitchers as they ride the wave of being promoted and demoted multiple times during a major league season. That is the tough part. Players like Brad Wieck, Trey Wingenter, Luis Perdomo, Robert Stock, and Gerardo Reyes have been up and down this year, and it can be an emotional time. “It is tough to pat guys on the back when they are sent to Triple-A,” Stammen admits. But he does it, and he is there for these young hurlers. That takes a lot.
Darren Balsley has been huge in the career for Craig Stammen. The Ohio native is grateful for the coach and what he has done for the veteran hurler. “He is a great pitching coach. I would not be the pitcher I am without him. He knows exactly what to say at the right time. That is a very hard talent to have. He has that talent, and he is smart with game planning. He knows mechanics. He knows different pitch grips. He is very intent on watching every single pitcher and how they are doing. If I ask him a question about how I am pitching, he knows exactly what I am talking about. And he can do that for all 12 or 13 of us,” Stammen said.
He had no problem in communicating his admiration for the coach. Balsley is very highly regarded among the players. “He is so positive at all times. Even if we are struggling, he tells us- you got it. Why don’t you try doing this a little differently? He is super positive. He is always in our corner and always has our backs. And he is super knowledgable. He never talks about the failures of the game,” Stammen said in closing about his pitching coach.
The inconsistency of the bullpen has been troubling, and the veteran reliever is very conscious of it. “There have been a lot of ups and downs with our performance,” Stammen said. The rookie pitchers have taken some of the struggles to heart. Stammen has been there for them. “It’s being consistently in their corner and make sure they feel good about what they are doing. I try to give them a little piece of advice to help them keep going. Mainly it’s just wrapping my arm around them when they need it,” Stammen said. It is no wonder that some of the pitchers refer to Stammen as “dad” in the clubhouse.
The Padres have several talented young pitchers who can be their worst critics. Again, the veteran is there to guide them “They are super talented, and sometimes they forget how talented they are. I am a good reminder of that,” Stammen said with a smile.