Scouting Yankees Prospect #40: Nick Rumbelow

Rumbelow could move quickly through the minors

The Yankees selected right-handed pitcher Nick Rumbelow in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Louisiana State University. Just like his good friend and former college teammate Nick Goody did a year ago, Rumbelow made a quick and rather seamless transition to the professional level in 2013 and he is poised to also be one of the quicker movers in the farm system going forward.

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

"First of all it was a blast, I really enjoyed pro ball," Rumbelow said of his debut season. "It was an awesome season. I am just so excited to get this next season rolling."

He put together a real solid season with the Staten Island Yankees, posting a 2.35 ERA and saving seven games in the New York Penn League this year while holding opposing batters to just a .148 batting average.

A closer for a prominent college program like LSU, it didn't take him long to adjust to the professional level.

"I think the travel, just the day in and day out planning, going from a college schedule to playing seven days a week, there wasn't a huge adjustment other than that," he said. "My body adapted really well to the schedule and things went really went well.

"I think the biggest part was just being in a consistent role and just pounding the strike zone every time I went out. I really kept my walks down this year and I thought that was a real key to my success, just getting ahead of guys and getting them out early. I think that was the biggest thing for me."

His business-like approach on the mound was a key to his consistency all season long, but it helps that he entered the professional ranks armed with two plus pitches and no real glaring weaknesses in his game.

"There wasn't a whole lot of major adjustments we made mechanically," he revealed. "My lower half works a whole lot like they want it to work. I was able to hit the outside corner pretty well and we stuck with what was working.

"We did make an adjustment with my curveball, going from throwing two curveballs to just sticking with my better one, my harder one. That was really all they tweaked."

The Yankees did get him to focus more on throwing his two best pitches and that meant scrapping the slower get-me-over curveball, but it wasn't the only adjustment. As most first-year pitchers quickly find out, he needed throw his changeup more.

"I worked in my changeup this year and was able to find that," he said. "That's a key throwing to lefties, having that in my repertoire. It really helped me out having a three-pitch repertoire.

"It was pretty awesome. I sat down with the pitching coach in Staten Island and he had seen me throwing my changeup a little bit earlier in our practice one day, and he was like 'use it'.

"You have to have confidence in a pitch and I just threw it, and I got a lot of confidence in it. I felt it was a pitch that I was able to throw in big counts. It wasn't just a pitch I'd throw 0-1, I'd throw it 1-0 and I felt that was really huge for me."

While he has the stuff to back it up, it is his supreme confidence on the mound that makes him rather unique for a first-year pro and it is also a major reason why so many baseball observers believe he has the chance to move rather quickly through the minor leagues.

"Just having so much confidence in all of my pitches that I can throw them in any count and I think that's the biggest step, the step that's going to take me to the heights that I want to be at, to be able to walk out on to the mound and know that I can throw any of these three pitches and get the job done."

The comparisons to Nick Goody are spot on in many respects -- approach-wise, business-like demeanor, etc -- and it is a comparison that Rumbelow himself both sees and embraces. And just like Goody, he wants to get after it in his development.

"I'm so excited [for next season] but it's obviously starting now. I've been training Monday through Friday so I think I'll be adequately prepared for Spring Training and set myself up well," he concluded.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2013

Staten Island

1-1

7

23.0

12

5

20

2.35



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. While he does have some impressive secondary pitches [see below], Rumbelow's success is predicated on pounding the strike zone with power four-seam fastballs that sit comfortably 93-95 mph. It's not often but he will occasionally top out at 97 mph, but more than the sheer velocity it is his ability to throw his fastballs to both sides of the plate with consistent command that sets him up so well in at-bats.

Other Pitches. Rumbelow actually has two different breaking pitches, one that's a power curveball with legit 12 to 6 action that sits 82-84 mph, and another that has sweeping slider action that sits more in the 83-87 mph range. He happens to refer to both as his 'curveball' but each breaking pitch has unique velocity and movement, and he can intentionally throw either depending on the situation. He rounds out his repertoire with an average, slightly above average changeup that flashes long-term plus potential already with the way it fades and bottoms. His command of it is surprisingly good for how little time he has used it and it should get better in time.

Pitching. Rumbelow is in full attack mode right from the very first pitch he throws. He goes right after batters, usually with fastballs earlier in counts, but he has the deep repertoire to mix in other pitches to keep hitters off-balance. His supreme confidence in throwing strikes is the foundation of his bulldog mentality and not allowing the free pass is also a both a result of his approach and the key to his success - he simply doesn't beat himself on the mound. His makeup is tremendous, very business-like, and his delivery is consistently smooth.

Projection. The comparisons to David Robertson are going to be inevitable as he climbs up the minor league ladder simply because he is in full attack mode with his plus fastball and has the great breaking pitch to get a lot of swings and misses. Like Robertson there is some ceiling as a future big league closer given his combination of stuff, command, and approach, but better projects as a setup man initially who will need to grow into the big league closer's role eventually. And like Robertson, Rumbelow might not be long for the minor leagues -- he has the chance to move quickly up the ladder.

ETA. 2015. Rumbelow could be poised to make the successful jump over the low-A level in 2014 and begin the season in high-A Tampa -- his game is advanced enough to do that. Should he do that it is not inconceivable to see him in Double-A by season's end and perhaps become a big league option sometime the following year.

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