Scouting Padres Prospect #49: Kyle Stutes

Left-handed relievers have always been at a premium but when they are better at getting righties out, it lessens the aura that surrounds them. Point and case: Kyle Stutes.

Playing for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2005, Kyle Stutes held right-handed hitters to a .243 average against while left-handed batters hit at a .283 clip.

To be truly considered a lefty pitcher, he must figure out that dilemma.

During the first three months of his year, Stutes possessed a 1.91 ERA and he ended up allowing as many earned runs in August, seven, than he had during the rest of the year. Over that same three-month span, he held the opposition to a .219 average – they smashed him at a .312 clip over his last 14 appearances.

One five run, seven hit, appearance skewed his August numbers, the only time on the year that he allowed more than one earned run in a relief appearance. That accounted for 36 percent of the earned runs he yielded all season.

"To his credit, he came in for an inning or two and got more out of his stuff," minor league field coordinator Bill Bryk said. "He does have a big league curve."

When the season ended, Stutes held a 1-2 record with a 2.42 ERA. He also struck out 61 in 52 innings while walking just 16. He had two different stretches of nine outings without allowing an earned run.

"We had this one guy, Kyle Stutes, this little lefty we got there. Everybody gives him a hard time but he was getting people out this year," said fellow right-hander Jonathan Ellis. "He was one of our better guys out of the bullpen. He doesn't get enough credit because of his size. A little lefty that topped out at 82, but he gets people out."

In a statistical anomaly, Stutes allowed just two earned runs all year in Fort Wayne, holding a .063 ERA over 23 appearances. On the road, his ERA ballooned to 4.63 in 22 games.

Stutes, a strike thrower, has an above-average curveball that allows him to setup his fastball, which sits in the high-eighties. Only seven of the 52 hits he allowed went for extra bases – showing he can keep the ball down in the zone and prevent hitters from getting good wood on the ball.

His success at the lower levels shouldn't come as a surprise as most batters have better success against the fastball than they do against the curve and other off-speed pitches.

The question, however, is whether Stutes has enough stuff to allow him to see success at the higher levels.

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