You can't really say that Bob Stumpo has put up overly impressive offensive numbers since being drafted by the Phillies in the 33rd round of the 2010 Draft. His career minor league numbers stand at .251/.326/.342 in 109 minor league games. Sometimes though, a prospect, especially a catching prospect, is judged on things other than his offensive numbers and that's where Stumpo has drawn some attention from the Phillies minor league staffs.
Just as he has in every minor league season, Stumpo hasn't found himself sitting quietly at one level for the entire season. In his first pro season, Stumpo moved quickly from the Gulf Coast League to Clearwater. Last season, he was primarily at Williamsport, but he did make it back to Clearwater for one game. This season, Stumpo has had a nice tour of the Phillies minor league system, playing with Lakewood and Clearwater prior to making a one-day appearance on the Lehigh Valley roster before he was sent to Reading to help their catching situation. "Mickey called me into his office and told me I was going to Lehigh and I kind of did a double-take," said the 24-year old graduate of West Chester University.
Ironically, Stumpo thought he would be sticking at Lakewood for a while and was surprised he was getting a promotion to anywhere, let alone to Triple-A. Stumpo was actually happy being at Lakewood, especially since he was playing for manager Mickey Morandini, who has been one of his main mentors since Morandini took over as manager last season at Williamsport. "I love Mickey [Morandini]. He's a great guy and a great manager. He doesn't ask too much out of you; play the game hard, play the game the right way," explained Stumpo. At Lehigh Valley, Stumpo was looking forward to playing for Hall of Fame manager, Ryne Sandberg, who he got to work with in spring training, but was only in town for one day.
Sandberg was also hoping to have Stumpo for at least a little while, because he liked what he saw in camp. "He does a nice job behind the plate. He'll help us out in different situations," said Sandberg when he thought he was going to have a third catcher again for at least a little while. The addition of Stumpo would have been especially nice since John Suomi has been battling nagging injuries over the past few weeks and is "a little tender," according to Sandberg.
Besides Sandberg, Stumpo has found a number of people in the Phillies organization to help guide him during his time with the organization and is known for being one of the young players who are willing to soak up as much information and help as they can. "There are a couple guys who I'm sure would say that I wear them out. Ernie [Whitt], our catching coordinator, Mike Compton [Field Coordinator], Mickey Morandini, who I've been with the past couple years. Older catchers like Tuffy [Gosewisch] and John Suomi, guys that I spent a lot of time with in spring training. Really, a lot of the older players. I try to pick their brain when I'm sitting with them on the bench or any other chance that I have."
As Stumpo moves through the system, he realizes that while he's well respected for his defense and how he's learning to work with pitchers, there is still a lot of work for him to tackle. "You always feel like you can do better. I'm decently happy and just try to get better everyday. I definitely work at it enough, so I'm positive about the future," said Stumpo, who is constantly working on a couple of important parts of his game. "Consistently have better at-bats and consistently drive the ball," remarked Stumpo about what he needs to improve on offensively. "As a catcher, it's just working with pitchers and getting to know each guy individually."
It's hard to know if whether bouncing around the various rungs on the minor league ladder is helping or hurting Stumpo. He's in a position where what he really needs is consistency - not just in his offensive approach - but in getting playing time and at-bats.