SHEA SPITZBARTH, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: October 4, 1994
Signed: Non-Drafted Free Agent, 2015, (Dodgers)
How Acquired: Rule 5 Draft, minor league phase (from Dodgers)
College: Molloy College
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Spitzbarth has had an interesting career. He wasn’t drafted out of college and doesn’t have impressive stuff. He throws in the low-90s, although he does have a good change. He has, however, put up exceptionally high K rates. He’s dominated most of the time in the minors, but he’s had a very difficult time in several limited exposures to AAA. So far he’s pitched only in relief as a pro. The Pirates selected him from the Dodgers in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
The Dodgers sent Spitzbarth initially to the Arizona League, where he gave up just one hit in 8.1 IP, although he walked seven. He had a little more trouble after moving up to advanced rookie ball.
Spitzbarth filled in for one appearance in AAA, then the Dodgers sent him to advanced rookie ball when the short season leagues began play. He had little trouble there, then moved up to low A, where he also dominated. He had very high K rates at both stops.
Spitzbarth went initially to the high-offense California League and dominated there, with another extremely high K rate. In mid-May, the Dodgers moved him up to AA. He wasn’t as dominant there, but pitched very well except for a rough month of August.
Except for two appearances in AAA, Spitzbarth spent the season in AA. He mostly pitched as he had in the low minors, holding opponents to a .215 average and missing lots of bats. He had trouble, though, with gopher balls, allowing ten. That hadn’t previously been an issue.
Spitzbarth went back to AA and pitched much like the previous year, only without the gopher balls, as he gave up only one. In late June, the Dodgers moved him up to AAA and that went badly, as opopnents batted .316 and hit a home run better than once every four innings. He did at least continue to miss bats.
The pandemic eliminated any season Spitzbarth would have had and the Pirates selected him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
Spitzbarth is much more interesting than the typical minor league phase selection. Most such picks are slated to be organizational players, but Spitzbarth could conceivably serve as major league depth if he solves whatever issues he’s had in AAA. If he’s going to make an impact with the Pirates, it will need to come in 2021 as he’ll be a minor league free agent after the season.
UPDATE: The Pirates called Spitzbarth up in early August when Chad Kuhl went on the COVID-19 injured list.
|2021: Major League Minimum|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2015
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible: 2027
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|July 10, 2015: Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent.
December 10, 2020: Selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
August 2, 2021: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.