Red Sox sign pitcher with 100 mph fastball and a crazy backstory

Rob Bradford
July 27, 2020 - 8:09 am
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Robert Stock's Wikipedia page states: "His fastball has been timed as high as 102 miles per hour."

Well, we don't have proof of that, but we do know he throws hard. And he also has a pretty interesting back-story.

Stock is the newest member of the Red Sox, having been claimed off waivers by the team after the Phillies designated the 30-year-old pitcher for assignment. He has pitched in 43 big-league games, making his major league debut in 2018 with the Padres. According to Statcast, of his 229 pitches in the bigs, 28 of them have been 99 mph or better, with three touching 100 mph.

But Stock's story -- which will lead him to Pawtucket to join the Red Sox' pool of extra players for the time being -- is more than just about velocity.

As a 13-year-old he was named by Baseball America as the best baseball player in the country for his age group. At just 16 years old, Stock bypassed the opportunity to be drafted and enrolled in USC's Resident Honors Program, playing both catcher and pitcher for the Trojans. The California native would serves as the youngest player in the Cape Cod League, playing two seasons for Cotuit.

Stock was ultimately taken by the Cardinals in the second-round by the Cardinals in the 2009 MLB Draft, earning All-Star status in his first pro year as a catcher at the age of 19. But by the time 2013 rolled around his career had stalled to the point where pitching became his priority. That, however, didn't take.

The Cardinals released him after the 2014 season, leading to subsequent short stints in the Astros' and Pirates' organizations.

It led Stock to a stint with the independent New Jersey Jackals, where he performed well but failed to put him back on the radar of big-league clubs. So armed with a video camera, with his wife at his side, the pitcher went to a Scottsdale, Arizona park to make his case ... via YouTube.

The video led to a contract with the Reds and ultimately a spot on the Padres' big-league team in 2018, with Stock going on to make the San Diego Opening Day roster in 2019.

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