D-backs Prospect Profile: RHP Daniel Stange

Sidelined by Tommy John surgery for parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, right-handed flamethrower Daniel Stange made a quick recovery and is back on the prospect radar for the Arizona Diamondbacks.


Vitals:

Name: Daniel A. Stange
Draft: 7th Round, 2006
Position: Right Handed Pitcher
DOB: 12/22/1985
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 185 lbs
B/T: R/R

History: Daniel Stange's college numbers from the University of California-Riverside don't jump out at you as being overly-dominant.  His stuff, however, most certainly stood out to former Diamondbacks scout Mark Baca, who convinced his superiors to select Stange in the seventh round of the 2006 draft.

Yr Team Age W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
04 UC-RIV 18 2 1 12.66 9 1   0 10.2 19 15 15 4 10 7 2.72
05 UC-RIV 19 0 1 6.38 13 3   1 24.0 35 22 17 3 5 12 1.67
06 UC-RIV 20 2 4 3.73 26 0   11 31.1 35 16 13 3 15 31 1.60
  MIS 20 5 2 4.25 27 0 24 13 36.0 39 19 17 2 17 48 1.56
07 VIS 21 4 5 3.19 38 0 33 16 42.1 37 26 15 3 18 53 1.30
  MOB 21 1 0 5.41 5 0 4 1 6.2 9 4 4 1 2 5 1.65
08 SOU 22 1 0 1.59 11 0 4 1 17.0 11 3 3 0 1 17 0.71
  VIS 22 1 2 3.95 11 0 5 0 13.2 10 6 6 2 6 14 1.17
Minors 12 9 3.52 92 0 70 31 115.2 106 58 45 8 44 137 1.30

Statistics Courtesy of The Baseball Cube

Stange quickly justified the organization's faith in him.  He led the Pioneer League in saves in his pro debut, then had his heater clocked at 99 MPH during that fall's Instructional League.  In his first full season, Stange dominated the California League and earned a promotion to Double-A at age 21.

"We had a couple of other guys from the [2006] draft up there before me:  Brooks Brown, [Max] Scherzer, and a couple of other guys made it up there before I did," Stange reported, downplaying his quick rise through the organization.  "I thought it was an honor just to be there in my first year."

Regrettably, he wasn't there for long.  Stange pitched five games for Mobile that July before being shut down with elbow soreness.  It was eventually diagnosed as a ligament tear, and Stange underwent Tommy John Surgery on October 10th with an eye towards playing again in August of 2008.  Instead, his rehab went so well that he began throwing prior to his target date of February and made his 2008 debut on June 19th at South Bend. 

As someone who had pitched in Double-A before, Stange allowed runs in only two of his 11 Silver Hawks appearances before the front office was convinced that he wasn't being challenged there.  Stange ran into some early trouble after being called up to Visalia, but then compiled a 2.08 ERA over his final seven appearances.  Two years after his initial debut there, Stange figures to begin the 2009 season in Double-A.  This time, if his stint is brief, it is hopefully due to a promotion and not an injury.

Makeup: Daniel Stange uses a violent delivery that includes a jerky head motion, and he has a tendency to short-arm the ball.  Most people attribute his elbow injury to the fact that he throws with so much effort, although Stange himself isn't so sure.

"I don't know exactly why the arm injury happened the way it happened," said Stange.  "The delivery's still a little violent, but it's gotten better, so I wouldn't really attribute it to the delivery.  I haven't done anything really to change the delivery except for a few mechanical things here and there."

Stange is still a little lanky, having only added a few pounds of muscle since being drafted in 2006.  But he is very strong, and the injury should not be attributed to his conditioning.  Realistically, anyone who throws as hard as Stange does with as sharp of a breaking ball as he has is going to be an injury risk.  The good news is that many pitchers come back from Tommy John Surgery stronger than before, and Stange recovered more quickly than most do.


Pitches:  Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Although Stange's fastball was once clocked at 99 MPH, it was usually between 93-96 before his surgery.  It was more like 91-93 last year, but could be back to normal this season.  Stange does not get much movement on his fastball, which could pose a problem at the major league level.  He also does not locate the pitch exceptionally well, although he is not a Wild Thing by any means, either.

His slider is actually the better pitch, although few outside of the organization seem to realize this.  It has a two-plane break that dives away from right-handed batters, who have virtually no shot at hitting it despite Stange's short-arm delivery that allows them to see the ball fairly well out of his hand.  Stange relied on the pitch more last year since the velocity was down on his fastball.  The slider is usually clocked in the low-80s. 

Stange's changeup has nice movement to it, but he has trouble locating the pitch and keeping the same arm action with it that he uses for his two primary pitches.  Stange really only uses this pitch against left-handed batters.  Even then, he needs to pick his spots until he improves the offering.   

Major League Clone: Rudy Seanez

Prediction: Stange will struggle against left-handed batters at the big league level, so the closer's role is out.  He will likely settle in as the seventh-inning guy who comes in to face a string of right-handers.  While that may not be the most glamorous job on the planet, Stange promises to be very good at it.

Timetable: Stange will probably spend the entire season at Mobile.  In order to protect him in next year's Rule V draft, the Diamondbacks will need to place him on their 40-man roster by November.  That could place Stange into the team's plans as quickly as in 2010.


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