Kurt Spomer, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'2
WT : 215
DOB : July 10, 1989 (26), in Omaha, Nebraska
Throws : Right
Bats : Switch
School : Creighton University (Omaha, NE)
Acquired : Signed as Undrafted Free Agent, June 15, 2012
Last Year's Ranking : #54
It's rare for players to walk on to a Division I baseball team and become professional. It's even more uncommon for undrafted free agents to make the Majors. Well, the Los Angeles Angels have a potential Major Leaguer in DI walk-on and undrafted free agent, Kurt Spomer. The submarine pitcher is making noise towards becoming a Major League talent, and is oh, so, close.
Submarine and sidearm pitchers were a dying breed just a few years ago, but have since emerged, and the Angels have one lurking in their system in Kurt Spomer. However, the arm angle is new for Spomer.
While in college, Spomer threw near directly over his head. A coach recommended he change his angle, so he did drastically, going to a near submarine angle, which is drastically tougher to read from a batter's perspective. He lost velocity but gained movement in the new act.
Spomer was throwing in the low 90's while in college, and has since dropped into the mid to high 80's on the transfer to a sidearm delivery. His pitches now have better movement, running and sinking like a true two-seam fastball. With the enhancements in deception and movement, we'd assume Spomer would happily trade the velocity for his new delivery.
Spomer also possesses a wipeout slider and arm-side running changeup that he uses effectively against right and left-handed batters. These pitches allow Spomer to change speeds from his fastball, and be aggressive against batters from both sides of the plate. Spomer can drop his changeup in on right-handed batters as well, using it a knockout punch.
Spomer also throws a splitter, which he's only used recently. It comes in with some knuckle movement, dying around the plate. With his angle and the sudden drop, this allows him to keep batter's off-balance with consistency as they continue guessing between a trio of splitter, two-seam and off-speed.
Spomer was a four-letter winner in four sports while in high school. If that doesn't scream athleticism, we don't know what will. In turn, Spomer uses his athleticism on the mound and in the field, being one of the more dynamic defensive pitchers the Angels have.
Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
Tri-Center High School won three Western Iowa Conference titles during Spomer's time as a prep player. Spomer was named a First-Team All-Conference and All-District selection his freshman, sophomore, junior, and... senior seasons, along with a Second-Team honorable mention his 8th grade year. In his senior year, Spomer held an 8-1 record, posting a 0.98 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 57 innings. Spomer also hit .486 with nine home runs his senior year.
Spomer appeared in 17 games between his freshman and sophomore year at Creighton, after walking on. He had five of his first six appearances go as scoreless outings, and finished his sophomore year with a 5.57 ERA and 1.281 WHIP.
The walk-on product reached for the Creighton record books, pitching in 35 games for the Blue Jays', fifth most in school history, and recorded 13 saves, second most. He finished the season with a 2.22 ERA, 0.986 WHIP and the 13 saves were good enough for the Missouri Valley Conference lead. Spomer collected three stretches of nine-inning scoreless baseball, and finished his collegiate career recording a perfect frame in the MVC Championship Game.
Spomer's debut professional season hit a rut in the middle of the season where he allowed nine runs in nine innings. Aside from that, Spomer allowed three runs in 25 innings. He finished his first pro season with a 3.12 ERA and 1.413 WHIP.
Spomer saw his first full season in 2013 with Low-A Burlington, where he posted a 2.49 ERA in 46 games, collecting six saves and a 1.077 WHIP. Spomer finished the 2013 season with 24 of 30 outings going scoreless, and holding a 1.67 ERA over the stretch while holding opposing bats to a .193 average and .547 OPS.
2014 was a breakout season for Spomer, as he held a 2.17 ERA and 1.179 WHIP in 52 games between three levels. He saw four games scattered through the season where he allowed one run in four outings. His primary affiliate was in High-A, where he finished the season allowing eight runs in 40.1 innings pitched, while allowing just over one base runner per inning.
This past season, the sidearm pitcher shined as one of the more prominent and consistent relievers in Triple-A. In the most hitter friendly league in Minor League Baseball, Spomer held a 3.77 ERA, limiting base runners. His biggest struggle was the long ball, allowing a home run per nine. What is impressive is that while in the most hitter friendly ballpark in Salt Lake, Spomer held bats to a .221 average and .289 on-base percentage.
Spomer is just one step away from reaching the Major Leagues. What that step is, is a little unknown. He's doing everything right, putting up good numbers, and showing that he's better than the competition in Triple-A. Something is just missing, and we don't know what it is.
The clock has been ticking on Spomer's professional clock, but he's slowed down the rate it ticks. He's right there in becoming a Major Leaguer, and could see time with the big club in 2016. A strong Spring Training could even allow him to hear his name called by the public address announcer on Opening Day.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.