An example of right-handed pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz’s mix Wednesday in the Portland Sea Dogs’ 1-0 win over Trenton at Hadlock Field:

To the left-handed Jake Cave of the Trenton Thunder in the first inning, Stankiewicz pounded away with five fastballs for a 2-2 count. Then Cave flailed at a change-up.

To the right-handed Tyler Austin in the second, Stankiewicz got ahead 1-2 on a fastball and two sliders. He then painted the inside corner with a fastball for a called third strike.

To left-handed Francisco Diaz in the third, Stankiewicz battled for a full count on seven pitches. The eighth pitch was a backdoor slider that froze Diaz for strike three.

“We did a pretty good job of mixing it up, in and out,” said catcher Ali Solis after Portland’s 1-0 victory. “He had his fastball command all day, and his slider was key.”

Just another example of Stankiewicz’s efficiency, and what the New York Mets missed out on. Stankiewicz, 22, is a Sea Dogs starter and, according to Baseball America, ranked the seventh-best starting pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization. He was Boston’s second-round draft pick in 2013.

The year before, Stankiewicz was also the second-round draft pick of the New York Mets. But according to published reports back then, the Mets wouldn’t pay the signing bonus his draft position called for ($680,000).

Stankiewicz didn’t go into details, only saying, “They said some things they were going to do and they didn’t come through, so I decided to go to junior college and hopefully get drafted again.”

The plan worked. Initially committed to the University of Arkansas, Stankiewicz instead attended Seminole State (Junior) College in Oklahoma so he would be eligible for the draft in 2013. The Red Sox grabbed him and signed him with a $915,000 bonus.

In two full years, Stankiewicz has been consistent: 25 starts and 1401/3 innings (3.72 ERA) in Greenville in 2014, and 25 starts and 1411/3 innings (4.01) for Salem last year.

After three starts in Portland – six innings per – Stankiewicz has an ERA of 1.00. He has struck out 16 and walked one, including six strikeouts and no walks Wednesday. He allowed four baserunners, all on singles, two in the infield.

“He’s throwing strikes,” Manager Carlos Febles said. “He has a four-pitch mix and can throw them all for strike, keeping (hitters) off balance.

“He’s been doing that since his first start. Very impressive.”

What is notable is Stankiewicz’s ability to learn and adjust, within a season or a game. On Wednesday he wasn’t pleased with going to three-ball counts on three batters.

A little hiccup in his delivery “and I fixed it.”

“He’s learning out there, which is making him better,” pitching coach Kevin Walker said. “He’s got a lot of things to be excited about. He has the fastball. He has the ability to manipulate the ball with the breaking ball and the change-up.”

Stankiewicz didn’t use a curve Wednesday but did change speeds on his slider. It worked.

Stankiewicz commands a fastball that sat at 91-92 mph Wednesday. It is effective because of location and the control of his other pitches. His strikeout rate is closer to what he had in 2014, when he totaled 102, than last year (77).

The drop-off can be explained in a delivery flaw. Stankiewicz normally throws at a three-quarters angle but found his arm slot dropping down last season.

“I wasn’t meaning to go lower. I was just pulling off a little bit (out of his windup), which made it lower than what it should have been. I was going too quick,” he said. “The coaches helped me with that and I’m back at three-quarters.

“I’m pretty much completely done with delivery changes. I think I finally figured out how smooth it should be. It feels really good right now.”

And it looks it.

“The thing I like about him is he competes,” Walker said. “He goes out there and he’s not going to give in to you. He’s going to make his pitch. Those are all the signs of what it takes to pitch in the big leagues. Right now he’s doing a great job.”


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