Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-2 Weight: 215
Born: 5/5/1982 Bats: Right Throws: Right
A late round choice of the Tigers in the 2004 First Year Player Draft, Bumstead was a workhorse for Louisiana State during his tenure at the university. During his final two seasons with the Tigers, Bumstead posted 10 and 11 wins as one component of a deep LSU staff. After extended success at the collegiate level, and in spite of some struggles during the College World Series, the Tigers still saw fit to pick Bumstead and stick him in the Oneonta rotation. While at Oneonta, Bumstead led the O-Tigers in strikeouts while posting a 3-1 record and a 2.03 ERA in 9 starts. Bumstead pitched so well down the stretch that the Tigers felt it necessary to promote him to West Michigan for their championship drive, where he again pitched well. In light of his dominant professional debut, the Tigers jumped Nate to the High-A Florida State League for the 2005 season, where he once again proved too much for A-ball hitters, posting a 12-4 record and a 2.58 ERA in 160 innings.
Bumstead doesn't possess an overpowering arsenal, but he is blessed with so much movement on his pitches that it borders on freakish. With a fastball that sits in the mid-80s, occasionally reaching 87-88 mph, Bumstead relies on above average command and good sinking action on his fastball. Combined with plus breaking pitches and an average change, Nate manages to get hitters out at rates unexpected by the casual observer. With solid control of all his pitches, Bumstead can locate the ball in virtually any location, forcing hitters to be aggressive against him. On top of exceptional movement and good control, Bumstead is knowledgeable about how to set up hitters, and consistently tries to out-think the batter. He has a tendency to short-arm his pitches at times, dropping his velocity into the low-80s and causing him to his pitch control. Nate has shown the aptitude to recognize this problem and correct it quickly, without instruction. He is an average athlete with good instincts for fielding his position and repeating his mechanics. Bumstead profiles as a back of the rotation starter.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP WHIP A+
Bumstead has not experienced any major injuries so far in his career.
Despite significant success in 2005, Nate never got the opportunity to try out AA, something many observers thought should have been the case. After dominating the FSL last season, he is almost a lock for the AA-Erie rotation in 2006. Bumstead will once again team with Jordan Tata to form what should be a formidable front to the Seawolves rotation. The AA challenge should prove the first true test for him, and how he handles it will be very telling for his future. Bumstead is a polished pitcher, who has nearly maxed out his potential. Now that he will finally be facing more advanced hitters, we will finally see if Bumstead's success has been predicated on smoke and mirrors, or if it has just been pure dominance. I'm a bit skeptical of his potential to contribute at the Majors, but until he experiences any setbacks, there's not much to knock him for.
Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.