Kurt Spomer, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'2
WT : 215 lb.
DOB : July 10, 1989, Omaha, NE
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : Creighton University (Omaha, NE)
Acquired : Undrafted Free Agent 2012
Stock : Rising
Cool Notes : Favorite athletes are Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter / Favorite movies are all sports themed : Hoosiers, Rudy, Moneyball
From walking on to Creighton University in his hometown of Omaha, to being an undrafted free agent, Kurt Spomer has had a tough road to get where he is now. The clock is ticking for Spomer, but he's slowed it down drastically with a breakout year, and has become possibly the rarest prospect in the farm system, catching the attention of the big shots in the organization and is progressing towards a Major League career.
Spomer changed his game 180 degrees recently with a big change. Spomer, who in college was throwing in the low 90's from a high arching arm slot, has now taken a few notches off, and began throwing the ball from a sidearm/submarine motion. Who doesn't love a submarine pitcher... other than opposing batters? Spomer has picked up deception with this, and has kept batter's off-balance with a four-pitch mix, using it to change speeds and work effectively.
Spomer's fastball has dropped velocity with the slot change, going from 90-91, down to around 82-85 right out of the change. This past season, Spomer started touching higher velocity marks, sitting anywhere from 84-88 at any given time we saw him. It has a natural two-seam movement, giving more run thank sink to it, but still causing weak contact.
Spomer has a sweeping slider that has been very effective against right-handed bats, but has been picked up well from lefties. That may be the only trouble with sidearms is their pitching ability into lefties, but Spomer has shown promise around that and has allowed himself to become more aggressive against those odd-balls on the "other side" of the plate.
Spomer comes with a changeup, he's recently developed into his best pitch, and a future Major League knockout punch. With the movement attained, and steady arm side run, this pitch has swing and miss qualities and is very challenging to read out of the hand.
The thing that caught our attention above the rest was Spomer's fourth pitch. It made our Publisher go, "wow," immediately. Spomer has been developing a split-finger fastball that not only has a death drop at the end, but comes in with so much movement, an opposing batter once said it comes in like a knuckleball. We only saw it on rare occasions, but when it was used, it was unhittable.
The transition to submarine pitching was a huge mark in Spomer's career. This is nothing new though, as he's made transitions and been a fine tuned pitcher who listens to coaches better than most. Spomer's abilities to listen, compete mentally, and adjust are high marks on his scouting report. Spomer may come in as one of the hardest working prospects in the system
Spomer also may be one of the better athletes in the organization, being a four-letter winner in football, baseball, basketball, and track in high school.
At Tri-Center High School, Spomer finished his senior season with a 8-1 record, 0.98 ERA, 81 strikeouts (12.78 K/9), and 14 walks (2.21 BB/9), in 57 innings pitched. Spomer also hit .486 with six doubles, nine home runs, 29 RBI, and stole 17 bases his senior year. He was selected the 2008 Male Athlete of the Year by Council Bluffs Daily Nonpariel newspaper. Spomer was also named to the First-Team All-Conference and All-District teams from his freshman through senior season, and was a second-team all-conference member and all-district honorable mention in his eight grade season (playing at Tri-Center). Tri-Center High school became the Western Iowa Conference Champions three times during Spomer's time at school, and he was also named a Member of the National Honor Society.
In his freshman year at Creighton, Spomer appeared in just three games of relief, having two of those outings go scoreless. Spomer followed this up with a 14 appearance sophomore season. He began with three straight scoreless outings, all one inning outings. Spomer finished his sophomore season with a 5.57 ERA and 1.281 WHIP.
Spomer was light's out in his junior and final season at Creighton. Spomer posted a 2.22 ERA, 0.986 WHIP, and picked up 13 saves, which were good enough for the season lead in the MVC. Spomer made 35 appearances for the Blue Jays, which is tied for fifth most in a single-season at the school, and his 13 saves were good enough for second most in school history for one season. Spomer had three stretches of nine or more innings worked where he did not allow a run, the longest coming from May 10-28, 2011. Spomer picked up the final out of the MVC Championship game, going perfect against Wichita State. Spomer finished being named to the Missouri Valley Conference Second-Team.
Spomer had an odd first season of pro ball, shining at some moments, and struggling at others. He finished with a 3.12 ERA and 1.413 WHIP, but picked up five wins and no losses in 20 appearances in relief. In appearances where he went more than one inning of work, he held a 1.64 ERA.
Spomer's second year of pro ball was a stellar one, finishing the season with a 2.49 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, .217 against average and picking up six saves in nine opportunities. Spomer had 36 of his 46 appearances go scoreless, including a stretch of 12 straight in late July to late August. Spomer had his ERA lifted by 56 points with a four earned outing, and could have finished with a 1.93 ERA without it. Spomer held right-handed bats to a .197/.265/.239 slash.
Spomer did quite a bit of traveling this past season, starting in High-A, making a trip to Triple-A, and finishing in Double-A. At the end of the season, combined from all three affiliates, Spomer finished with a 2.17 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, and .219 against average.
Spomer went scoreless in 29 of his 32 outings in High-A. He had one outing that got out of control, where he went one third of an inning, allowing six runs on four hits, and a walk. Taking that one game away from his season in High-A, Spomer would have finished with a 0.45 ERA instead of 1.79, and would have held a 0.900 WHIP, and .175 against average. Spomer held right-handed bats to a .135/.214/.157 slash, and held bats leading off to a .086/.111/.143 slash.
Spomer made four scoreless appearances in Triple-A, before heading south to Double-A. There, he found consistence instead of dominance. Spomer had nine of his 16 outings go scoreless, and never allowed more than two runs per outing. With runners in scoring position, Spomer held bats to goign 5-for-29, and 2-for-14 with RISP and two outs.
Spomer has shined at the highest levels in the Angels farm system. There's still some fine tuning to be done, and Double-A should do that in 2015. However, Spring Training could tell a different story. Spomer will get some time with the MLB club and be seen by all the scouts, coaches, and organizational members against fiercer and tougher competiton, some possibly MLB All-Stars. Spomer could be a serious threat out of Spring Training.
Spomer is oh so close to that final leap to the Majors. There's a slight blockade of relievers for the Angels, but Spomer is right there with them. He easily could be in the MLB by next season, but it is most likely, he'll be there as a member of the bullpen sometime in 2016.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.