His Favorite Letter is K: Craig Stammen

Craig Stammen is your typical long man. You need a guy, left-handed or right-handed, to swoop in and relieve the starter’s day if things aren’t going well early on, and eat up innings. The baseball term for this is perfect: the vulture.

About 365 days ago, Nationals Inside Pitch honored Stammen and Tyler Clippard for their vulture role. After the issue, Stammen became a dominant reliever in the Nats bullpen, from relieving injured starters, to closing games when Drew Storen had the day off, or to pitching extra innings games. Craig Stammen is continuing as the vulture in 2013 and may be the best reliever in the bullpen this year.

Like everyone, Craig had a long road to the majors.  Craig Stammen was born in Versailles, Ohio, on March 9, 1984, 96.1 miles away from Cincinnati. Stammen started playing ball in the Marion Little League, along with future Padres pitcher Cory Luebke. Craig graduated from Versailles High School, where he played a trio of sports- Baseball, Football, and Basketball. He attended the University of Dayton. He majored in entrepreneurship and business management. Craig also made 60 pitching appearances in 3 years at Dayton, and pitched for the Lexington Hustlers in the Great Lakes Collegiate Summer League. Craig was later named a part of UDLegends, a group of the most renowned and respected graduates of Dayton. His baseball career, though, was just getting started.

How Fox Sports announcers frequently pronounce Craig’s name.

Stammen was drafted in the 12th round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft, with other Nats such as Ryan Zimmerman and Tyler Moore, and former Nats such as Justin Maxwell (HOU), John Lannan (PHI), and Marco Estrada (MIL). Yes, the 2005 draft, with Justin Upton, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitski, Colby Rasmus, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew McCutchen, and Jay Bruce.

He was assigned to the Vermont Expos in the Single A New York-Penn League, where he made 7 starts and 6 relief appearances, posting a 4.06 ERA, striking out 32 while giving up 12 walks and 62 hits. All of that was done in 51 innings.

In 2006, he pitched for the low-A Savannah Sand Gnats. He also had a stint with the advanced A Potomac Nationals. In 92 innings more than 2005, accumulated a 4.03 ERA, 109 Ks, 36 walks, and 144 hits.

2007 was mostly spent in Single-A, although he made an appearance with AAA Columbus. He pitched on September 2, 2007, receiving the loss in a 6-4 Clippers deficit to the Toledo Mud Hens. he pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up a homer to Jason Perry.  In 2009, Stammen started with AAA Syracuse, going 4-2 with a 1.80 ERA.

On May 21, 2009, Stammen made his MLB debut. The Nats won, 5-4, sparked by an Adam Dunn base hit that scored the go-ahead. In September, Stammen felt he had a sore elbow. A MRI on 9/3 showed that Stammen had a bone spur, and was shut down for the rest of ’09. He needed arthroscopic surgery.

Stammen was ready for ’12 Spring Training, after spending the summer with the Chiefs in ’11.  Stammen succeeded Spring Training, and made it onto the Opening Day Roster. He had a change, though. After spending his early career with the Nats as a starter, Stammen became a long reliever, although he recorded his 1st career save in late September against the Cardinals.

People may not know this interesting fact about Stammen: he is a sinkerballer. Along with fellow pitcher Ryan Mattheus, Stammen and Mattheus become the Sinkerballer Show, baffling hitters with the tricky pitch. He gets batters to roll over the pitch and hit ground ball outs. 

I like what I see from Stammen in 2013!

TODAY’S GAME

NATIONALS AT ROCKIES 3:10PM ET

ROSS DETWILER (2-4, 2.76 ERA) VS. JEFF FRANCIS (2-4, 6.30 ERA)

#ROCKtheROCKIES

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