Eric Stamets (Haymarket 2010) has been around so long that, oddly, it’s easy to forget about him.
Eric, from Dublin, Ohio, turned 26 years old last September, which is old for a prospect, but he exploded offensively in 2017, putting him back on the map, so to speak, and also putting him on the Cleveland Indians’ 40-man roster in the offseason.
Let’s do a little retrospective on his career up to this point:
- Eric attended Evansville from 2010-2012. Over that time, he hit a total of 300/400/414 in 671 at-bats, with 47 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, an 86/84 BB/K ratio, and 100 stolen bases. Looks pretty good, right? While the hitting was pretty good, though, his fielding was supposedly amazing. In fact, I read where scouts thought his defensive ability was major league ready even in college.
- In 2010, Eric played in Haymarket with wooden bats (probably for the first time). He hit 273/353/376 in 165 at-bats, with 5 doubles, 4 home runs, a 21/23 BB/K ratio, and 11 stolen bases without being caught. (He was teammates with Tyler White, who has played in the majors, and Rudy Flores, who was in Triple-A last season. That team finished 30-14, the best regular season in Haymarket/Aldie’s franchise history.)
- In 2011, Eric got to play on the Cape, for Hyannis, where the power dried up (not surprisingly, given the quality of the pitching up there). He hit 277/339/289 in 159 at-bats, with 2 doubles, 0 home runs, a 10/20 BB/K ratio, and 11 stolen bases (1 caught stealing).
- After the 2012 college season, he was drafted in the 6th round by the Los Angeles Angels, signed, and assigned to Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League. He hit 274/323/347 in 248 at-bats, with 13 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, a 15/35 BB/K ratio, and 7 stolen bases.
- In 2013, he played the entire season in the California League for Inland Empire. In 506 at-bats, he hit 281/335/375, with 28 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, a 34/66 BB/K ratio, and 16 stolen bases.
- 2014: Eric’s first taste of Double-A, the proving ground for many prospects. His defense stayed excellent, but his hitting was suppressed to 235/293/314 in 344 at-bats. He also struck out 62 times against 24 walks.
- In 2015, Eric started out in Arkansas (Double-A) again, and hit 248/306/360 in 214 at-bats.
- The big change happened on July 28th, when he was traded to Cleveland for David Murphy. He was assigned to Akron, the Indians’ Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League, where he a tough 197/252/248 in 33 games and 117 at-bats. In this age of big hitters at almost every position, the question was if Eric could hit enough to force his way to the bigs.
- In 2016, back at Akron, Eric started to show a little bit of power. He hit 258/335/418 (his highest slugging percentage at any level up to this point) in 244 at-bats, with 17 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 21/67 BB/K ratio, and 8 stolen bases. He was called up to Triple-A Columbus for 22 games and 73 at-bats, where he struggled, hitting 164/220/233, along with only 3 walks and 28 strikeouts.
- 2017: Here is where Eric exploded, putting himself into the mix to help a major league club. He started back at Akron, but lasted there only 14 games and 40 at-bats, because he hit 325/429/525, forcing his way back to Triple-A.
- He spent the next 101 games back at Columbus, where he hit 251/324/455 in 334 at-bats, along with 23 doubles, 15 home runs, a 30/87 BB/K ratio, and 8 stolen bases. He was added to Cleveland’s 40-man roster on November 20, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft. This is, obviously, a good sign. Eric isn’t likely to unseat Francisco Lindor on the Indians (of course), but perhaps he can play a utility role, or even shortstop for a different MLB team. Time will tell, of course.
John Sickels has covered Eric, putting him at #19 in the system, with a grade of C+. This is what John wrote about Eric:
19) Eric Stamets, SS, Grade C+: Age 26, the Ryan Merritt of Triple-A infielders, hit .259/.336/.463 with 16 homers, 10 steals, 38 walks, 100 strikeouts in 374 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A; very polished and reliable defensive shortstop who has looked good in trials at second and third base; problem has always been the bat but he started to show power in 2017; I have felt for years that Stamets could surprise us in his late 20s and that started to happen last season; several guys in the other Grade C+ section below have higher ceilings but aren’t as close to the majors; ETA 2018.
Will Eric make his major league debut at some point in 2018? Assuming he continues hitting for some power, I have no reason to believe that he won’t be able to carve out some kind of career in the bigs.