Against All Odds, Stiller Nears End Of Incredible Journey
November 24, 2009
While the high profile guys tend to get more attention because they were once starters who converted to a relief role, even though they are largely overlooked there are several pitchers in the system that have made a name for themselves as a reliever for almost their entire minor league career. One of those is right-hander Erik Stiller.
Stiller is a success story in his own right as he was an undrafted free agent signing out of Princeton University back in 2006. Instead of a high paying job in the financial world right out of the prestigious school, he instead took up the chance to play professional baseball when the Indians came calling and offered him a minor league contract with a bonus of $1500 to sign.
Stiller signed and ever since then has put up some good numbers in his four years in the Indians system. In his four year covering 123 appearances (22 starts) he is 23-19 with 4 saves and a 3.57 ERA, and in 277.2 innings has a 7.8 H/9, 2.8 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, and 1.18 WHIP. All very solid numbers for a relief prospect.
Of course, there is more to being a good relief prospect than just the stats. It is mostly about talent, and while Stiller does not have top shelf stuff, most of his pitching tools are pretty solid across the board. His fastball sits in the low 90s, though has hit 94 MPH from time to time. He complements the fastball with a curveball, cutter, and changeup, with the changeup regarded as his best secondary offering. At 6