Sean Stidfole has risen all the way to Double-A this season, but there’s one aspect of his game that’s holding him back and that is his command. Stidfole has put up tremendous numbers as a set-up man for New Hampshire, however, scouts have noticed his weak spot. ITD talked to a scout that gave us an interesting development with his command issues. - FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT
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The 23-year-old began the year at High-A Dunedin and immediately shut down opponents. He allowed just one earned run over his first eleven innings, and three more over his next 14 2/3 innings. By mid-June he was 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA in 26 games. However, despite his .205 batting average against mark, he had issued 14 walks in just 30 2/3 innings.
The Blue Jays still felt the need to promote him and see how he handles Double-A. The results were the same. Stidfole struggled over his first seven outings giving up six runs in twelve innings, but then settled down nicely. Over his next 12 games, spanning 20 innings, he allowed just three earned runs, but continued to battle his command problems, issuing 11 walks.
“His command problems come when facing left-handed batter,” noted one scout that has seen Stidfole pitch multiple times this year. “He’s having success against both left-handed and right-handed batters, but he changes his mechanics slightly when facing left-handers which forces him to open up too early and not spot the ball.”
Stidfole has pitched well in all aspects. With runners in scoring position opponents are batting .179 off him.
The right-hander entered the year with an 11-8 record and an ERA of 4.52 between Auburn and Lansing.
“I never imagined I would reach this level so quickly,” noted Stidfole earlier this year.
Stidfole bounced around between a starter and a reliever earlier in his career, although now he has a defined role as a reliever. He worked on increasing his repertoire in professional baseball and has now become a solid four-pitch pitcher, feature a fastball, sinker, cutter and changeup.
Stidfole did battle through some adversity earlier this year when his younger brother was released by Toronto, but he realized quickly that it was part of the business and refocused himself on improving his game.
Changes in his mechanics have contributed to his success this year, and Jays insiders believe those changes are the reason he’s command has been inconsistent this year.
“We feel when he gets comfortable with his new mechanics, his command will also improve,” noted one Blue Jays scout.