Eric Stamets is making the most of his time with the Clippers, as he gets a chance to play minutes away from where he grew up in Dublin, Ohio. He then went on to play college baseball at the University of Evansville, and was selected in the sixth round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels. The 25 year old is taking advantage of playing so close to home, and is enjoying every minute of it.
“It’s awesome, usually when you go through the regular season, you can’t wait to get home at the end of the year,” explained Stamets. “Obviously it’s a little different for me this year being at home basically the whole time, so it’s definitely different but its awesome.”
The season didn’t get off to the start that Stamets was hoping for at the plate. He struggled to find his way on base, and was eventually sent back to Akron. After finding his swing with the RubberDucks, he credited his success to keeping things simple and not thinking too much at the plate.
“I think I was trying to do too much at the beginning of the year. I’m just trying to stay within myself, know myself as a hitter. I’m just trying to keep it simple. Sometimes if I watch too much film I think too much,” ;aughed Stamets. “I’m really trying to dumb down all the thinking and have a good approach at the plate. Swing at good pitches, stay within the zone, swing at strikes.”
When he went through his slump at the plate, the ability to go out and make plays on defense helped him keep his confidence up.
“When I’m struggling at the plate, going out on defense is kind of my safe-haven. As long as balls keep getting hit to me, that helps me decompress, so it’s always nice when I can have that.”
While Stamets is known for making the tough plays look easy, he still isn’t satisfied with his defensive skills, and is continuing to work on improving every chance he gets.
“I’m just trying to be perfect," he explained. "Obviously this is a game where perfect rarely happens, so defensively when I have way more control I strive for perfection. I don’t want to say don’t make errors, because errors are going to happen, they are apart of the game, but try to keep everything in my control, and strive for perfection. If I make an error, I absolutely want the next one. I know if one more is hit to me I will probably have it, and I want that chance for redemption right away.”
After rejoining the Clippers, Stamets has been on an absolute tear. One part of his game that had previously been lacking was his ability to hit one over the fence. He has quickly changed that perception, as he now has the second most home runs on the team with six, just two behind Richie Shaffer. Skipper Chris Tremie has taken note of this, and is watching Stamets evolve into a complete player.
“It makes him a complete player, he’s a really good defender, runs the bases well, really good baseball instincts and plays well,” explained Tremie. “At times he has hit well and other times has not hit as well, and that’s something that he has been working really hard on and if he continues to do what he’s doing now he puts himself in a really good position to help a major league ball club.”
In the Clippers four game home series against Norfolk, Stamets put up insane numbers. He went 11-13 with four doubles, five home runs, 12 RBIs, and 30 total bases, while bringing his batting average up from .143 to .263. His numbers have helped revive this offense, which put up 36 runs in their series win against Norfolk. Stamets wouldn’t allow himself to say too much about his huge weekend, but with the smile across his face, you could tell how excited he was about his performance.
“I’ll just try to keep the same approach, keep my routines before the game the same and try to let it all play out.“
Tremie was happy with what he saw from his shortstop, and noticed his at bats improving before he rejoined the Clippers.
“You know he had gone down to Akron for a little while and had really swung the bat well there before he came back,” explained Tremie. “He came back up here and was having really good at bats for awhile and just caught fire, hitting home runs, doubles, driving in runs, just a great stretch of at bats.”
Stamets will be a player that Indians fans should keep an eye on. If he continues to hit home runs and get on base, he can be a dangerous player. He already has the defensive skills and the speed on the base paths, but the addition of the deep ball makes him a complete player, and is someone that is exciting to watch.