Laurila: Q&A with Eric Stults, a poor man’s Randy Jones

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on July 17, 2013:

Eric Stults didn’t represent the San Diego Padres in last night’s All-Star Game. He arguably deserved the honor, which is remarkable given where he’s come from. The 33-year-old left-hander was claimed off waivers last May after being released by the White Sox. Three years ago he was pitching for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Stults had 8 career wins when he joined the Padres. Last year he doubled that total while logging a 2.40 ERA. So far this season, in 20 starts, he is 8-7 with a 3.40 ERA and 3.32 FIP. His 1.91 BB/9 is seventh-best among National League starters. He’s been the Padres best pitcher, and, surprisingly, one of the better lefties in the league.

More than a decade after being drafted by the Dodgers out of Bethel College, Stults has evolved into a poor man’s Randy Jones. In the mid-1970s, Jones won a Cy Young award and had a pair of 20-win seasons for the Padres. The southpaw did so with a fastball that could barely break a pane of glass. Stults is also similar to his skipper. Bud Black epitomized the term “crafty lefty” throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s.

Stults talked about his evolution as a pitcher, including his ability to change speeds with the best of them, when the Padres visited Fenway Park earlier this month.

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Originally published: July 17, 2013. Last Updated: July 17, 2013.