Scouting Yankees Prospect #19: Nick Rumbelow

The Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Nick Rumbelow in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Louisiana State University. Seemingly poised to be one of the quicker movers in the farm system at the time of his selection, he not only ascended four minor league levels last season but dominated nearly every step of the way too.

[Jonathan Vazquez contributed to this article]

Vital Statistics:
Name: Nick Rumbelow
Position: Pitcher
DOB: January 12, 1991
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He began the year in low-A Charleston and finished the season in Triple-A Scranton, and combined to post a 2.62 ERA over those four minor league levels and strike out a whopping 81 batters in 58.2 innings.

"I thought it was a really good year," he said. "I got to play with a bunch of awesome guys going through four different levels. I played for some really good coaches and different ball clubs, and looking back at [last] year I feel like it was a good success and a lot of fun as well.

"I kind of reflected on it when I got back home and [after I] went to Instructs, kind of looked at how I did and the progress I made throughout the season -- I kind of like to take things game by game and you know to be able to reflect on that and the season and kind of look at how many walks and things like that -- you know I thought from reflecting on it, I did predominately well.”

It was a very good season indeed but beyond the numbers it was his continued progression with both the changeup and his fastball command that allowed him to move a bit quicker than most pundits had expected.

"I think it was mostly mixing all three of my pitches together and learning from the really good coaches that we have in this system," he said of the reason for his success. "It's pretty easy to be successful when you have a lot of good people in your corner. I'd say though that the fastball command took a pretty big step forward."

Improved fastball command was one aspect that improved; the other was his changeup. Known entering professional baseball with a plus fastball-plus curveball combination, it's been the rapid ascent of his changeup as yet another viable weapon that has allowed him to move up the minor league ladder so quickly.

"It's a pitch that I'd go to in a 2-2 count with the game on the line so it's right up there with my confidence level being able to throw it in a big game in a big time," he opined. "I think it just improved by throwing it [more]. I don't think I improved the trajectory of it necessarily, [it just improved] by throwing it more for a strike."

In fact, outside a little more tweaking of the fastball command it appears that Rumbelow, now Triple-A experienced, isn't all that far off from being a big league contributor sometime soon.

"You know that’s something I don’t necessarily overwhelm myself with," Rumbelow said. "I’m here I’m pitching for the RailRiders right now and you know I’m doing everything I can for us to win games here, but if that time comes I think I’ll be prepared."

"He doesn't need much more time at all," Yankee pitching coordinator Gil Patterson said. "He just needs a little more experience. He went from Charleston to Triple-A last year. Now this year I'm not sure if there's three more levels he can jump, he just needs to command his fastball a little bit better. With that being said though he does have the swing and miss curve and the changeup. The changeup is just as good as the curveball."















































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Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Rumbelow doesn't have a whole lot of size to him [standing just 6-foot-0] and he has some great movement with his secondary pitches, and that combination allows him to be sneaky fast with his heater as opposing batters are not expecting the 93-95 mph average fastball out of him. He'll even top out at 97 mph on occasion with his fastball, one that shows good movement and late life. The command of his fastball can fluctuate, however, from being average to way above average, and it depends not only on the game but even from batter to batter.

Other Pitches. It's pick your poison time in regards to Rumbelow's secondary arsenal. Even though he's a short-inning reliever he has three secondary pitches that all range from above average to plus. His power curveball [a plus pitch] remains his bread and butter strikeout pitch. It has traditional 12 to 6 breaking action and sits 82-84 mph. He also has a slider too, one that has more east-west sweeping action and sits in the 83-87 mph range. Both are nasty strikeout weapons, especially against right-handed batters, but he's not afraid to go to either breaking pitch against left-handed batters too. He rounds out his repertoire with an above average, borderline plus changeup. It's yet another pitch that bottoms out for him and he can go to that pitch in a big strikeout situation too.

Pitching. What ties everything together for Rumbelow is his 100 percent octane, full-throttle attack style of pitching. He not only goes right after batters but he employs an extremely upbeat tempo too. He's ready to throw the next pitch just as soon as he gets the ball back from his catcher and that approach, along with an ability to throw any of four pitches for strikes at a given time, doesn't allow batters to ever get too comfortable in the batter's box. He has a business-like approach to pitching and he has the ideal reliever's memory; he has forgotten about the last pitch before he throws the next pitch. The one area of his game that does lack consistency, however, is the the command of his pitches, particularly his fastball. He can get hit around a little bit when he's not throwing cheese at the knees.

Projection. We mentioned at the time of his selection that the comparisons to David Robertson were going to be inevitable as he climbs up the minor league ladder because of a similar size, similar attack style of pitching with a plus fastball-plus curveball combination, and periods of inexplicable loss of command, and nothing Rumbelow has done in his little more than a year and a half in the farm system has refuted that comparison any. Like Robertson, Rumbelow won't be long for the minor leagues, will most likely break in as a big league middle relief pitcher, and who will most likely eventually slide his way further and further back into the back-end of a big league bullpen as he gains experience. He has future big league setup man or closing type potential.

ETA. 2015. We also mentioned a year ago that Rumbelow would be a quick mover through the minor leagues and tabbed his big league ETA at 2015, and that's an ETA we're sticking with. He should see his first big league action at some point this season after he gains some more Triple-A experience initially.

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