Padres Re-Sign Craig Stammen: Analyzing an Interesting Case

Over the weekend, the Padres re-signed one of their better relievers from last season, Craig Stammen. Let’s take a look at the veteran reliever, who returns to one of the better bullpens in the National League.

Padres Re-Sign Craig Stammen

It’s been a pretty eventful offseason for the San Diego Padres. They’ve already picked up infielder Jurickson Profar and veteran lefty Drew Pomeranz to add to their squad. But they have also re-signed Stammen, a veteran right-handed pitcher who’s pitched for the Padres in each of the past three seasons.


Stammen has been a workhorse for the Padres since joining them in 2017, as he’s pitched in at least 60 games in each of the last three seasons, and over 70 games in the last two seasons. As far his effectiveness goes, the right-hander was fine in 2019, but he was not as effective last season as he was in 2018. You might think that by looking at his walk rate (4.4 BB% in 2019), which was almost four points better than the MLB average. However, he gave 13 home runs last season, ten more than he did in 2018. That resulted in a jump in FIP by almost two points (4.12 FIP in 2019 compared to 2.19 FIP in 2018).

Most of the home runs Stammen gave up in 2019 were left up in the zone. Nine of the 13 HR’s he gave up in 2019 were sinkers.


However, Stammen’s Hard Hit% and Exit Velocity numbers were above average, indicating that while he was prone to making mistakes, he still performed well for the most part. The 35-year old’s sinker was his most used pitch in 2019 (71% usage according to Baseball Savant), and while he yielded nine of his 13 HR’s from 2019 with the pitch, the righty, he did manage to induce a lot of field outs using it.

While batters hit nine HR’s off the sinker, the pitch work fine for the most part for Stammen. Batters had a .298 wOBA off the pitch, and hit just .237 off his sinker.


Stammen’s two breaking balls, a slider and a curve, were very interesting. When using Baseball Savant‘s xSLG and xwOBA stats, it seemed that Stammen had some bad luck in 2019. And that’s backed up by the exit velocity numbers, as hitters averaged 81.4 MPH (six points below MLB average) when making contact with his slider.

Year Pitch Opp. AVG Opp. xAVG Opp. SLG Opp. xSLG Opp. wOBA Opp. xwOBA
2019 Curveball .296 .264 .556 .436 .380 .320
2019 Slider .289 .214 .467 .322 .320 .238


What to Expect from Stammen in 2020

One thing to look for is entering 2020 is whether the veteran righty’s mileage will catch up to him. He’s not a particularly hard thrower, but he’s logged over 230 innings and has appeared in 209 games over the past three seasons. While he isn’t their closer, nor on a big contract, he’s still pegged to be one of their most relied-upon relievers this season. Whether he’s effective or not remains to be seen.

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