Tim Livingston, Assistant GM, Baseball Operations & Media
For the third time in team history, a former Sonoma Stompers player has been signed by a Major League organization, as 2015 left-hander Dylan Stoops was signed by the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
"We're thrilled for Dylan," said Stompers general manager Theo Fightmaster, "This is an opportunity he truly deserves, and we're thankful to Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller for helping make sure he made a stop in Sonoma to start his professional career."
The 24-year-old joins 2014 Pacific Association MVP Jayce Ray (Boston Red Sox, 2015) and former 2015 teammate and fellow hurler Santos Saldivar (Milwaukee Brewers, 2016) as former Stompers who have moved on to affiliated baseball, with Stoops being signed after a tremendous year with Traverse City of the Frontier League.
In 16 starts with the Beach Bums, Stoops went 9-3 with a 3.18 ERA, a nearly identical mark to his 3.13 ERA with Sonoma last season. He had a 79/28 K/BB ratio in 90 1/3 innings while allowing only 77 hits. In his final four starts, he allowed four earned runs in 28 IP (1.29 ERA), including a 10-strikeout complete game on August 9 against Windy City, one of three times he went the distance in 2016.
Stoops came to the Stompers in 2015 thanks to a spreadsheet used by Miller and Lindbergh to help build the team's roster, where they looked at players who were successful in their senior years of college, but were not drafted.
The duo picked Stoops thanks to his fantastic numbers at Richmond University and signed him to be a part of the team in the second half of the season. Saldivar was also signed from that spreadsheet shortly before Stoops signed, as were two other current Stompers: Second-year hurler Sean Conroy and Taylor Thurber, who signed with Sonoma during spring training of this season.
Coming to the team in the midst of a pennant chase, Stoops became an immediate contributor for Sonoma, striking out 29 in 23 innings while allowing only 20 hits and 10 walks. He also had a 1.97 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), the lowest mark in the Pacific Association for pitchers with at least 15 innings.
"Dylan quickly established himself as the best left-handed pitcher in the Pacific Association," Lindbergh said, "He has both the stuff and the mentality to succeed against advanced competition."
Amongst Pacific Association pitchers who had at least one start in 2015, Stoops had the highest strikeout rate (31 percent) and the lowest slugging percentage allowed (.274) while also sporting a 62 percent ground ball rate, the second highest on the team.