Stone Speer: Big Name, Even Bigger Aspirations
Let’s rewind the clock to last June for a few seconds. In the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft the Tampa Bay Rays selected pitcher Stone Speer out of the University of New Orleans. In addition to his memorable name Stone sports an even more unforgettable arm. Earlier today I got to catch up with the lefty and asked him a few questions about the draft process and how his offseason has been going.
When did you first realize you had a chance to become a professional baseball player and get drafted by an organization?
[quote]”I first realized during the fall of my freshman year in junior college after scout day.”[/quote]
What took place after that and how were you notified you got drafted by The Rays?
[quote]”Well I didn’t get drafted until my senior year… but I worked out for the Rays about 3 weeks before the draft and I was watching on the computer when my name got called. The scout that drafted me then called and told me”[/quote]
What happened after you got the call that you have been drafted?
[quote]”The Rays sent me to a rookie camp for 3 days and then I went straight to rookie ball.” He then continued on saying “I came out the bullpen in rookie ball, it was good… a nice way to break in.”[/quote]
In rookie ball Speer performed well with the Princeton Rays in limited action. In 7.2 innings pitched he maintained a 3.52 ERA giving up 3 earned runs on 6 hits while striking out 8 men in 4 appearances. Stone maintained consistency pitching for the class A Bowling Green Hot Rods in the Midwest league. In 31 innings pitched he posted a 3.48 ERA while adding another dimension to his game by picking up 2 saves out of the closers role. Speer’s arsenal of pitches consists of a 4 seam fastball, 2 seam fastball, curveball and a changeup. His 4 seam fastball is his main pitch and consistently hits around 89-90 MPH. He likes using the breaking ball to hitters when they have 2 strikes on them and he is often able to put them away. The 5’11” left hander gives left handed hitters a tough time in the batters box as his pitches sweep across the plate.
Did you like coming out of the bullpen?
[quote]”Yes, I liked the bullpen role, but in the event the organization wants me to start, I can.” So far this offseason he has been taking part in a throwing program and training at the Duke Academy in his home state of Louisiana.[/quote]
Where do you see yourself playing baseball in April, 2014?
[quote]”I don’t really know… I am new to the system so I don’t know how it exactly works but wherever they send me I will do my best to move to the next spot as quick as possible.” He continued to say positive things throughout and really seems excited to play at a high level.[/quote]
Who was the best batter you have ever faced?
Stone is a very poised athlete and I can’t wait to see what he can do on the mound come April. Once again a big thank you to him for taking the time and best of luck to him as he continues his road to the MLB.
Interview by @NickHamelinMLB