The new arrival won a job in the bullpen to begin the season and should be on the roster throughout the year.
The 25-year-old right-hander was a Rule 5 draft selection of the Indians earlier this offseason and will finally get a chance to prove he is ready for the MLB level in 2021.
Reason RHP Trevor Stephan made the roster. It sealed the deal yesterday 👇 https://t.co/rcltGxkhIt
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) March 21, 2021
Learning More About Trevor Stephan
Stephan is on the roster after the Indians took him away from the New York Yankees in the Rule 5 draft.
For those unaware, MLB has an annual draft, the Rule 5, in which teams can select players and prospects who are not protected as part of a team’s 40-man roster.
The catch is that the Indians need to keep him on the active roster or send him back to the Yankees.
Fans should safely assume Stephan will remain in the bullpen all year to avoid a situation where the draft pick was for nothing.
The reliever is a former third-round pick of the Yankees back in 2017.
He spent his entire minor league career as a starter and is now making the transition into the bullpen.
As a starter, Stephan has a career 3.70 ERA in the minors.
MLB.com Indians beat reporter Mandy Bell got some great quotes from Terry Francona about the decision to keep Stephan on the roster.
“This kid came in and we told him, we said, ‘We Rule 5’d you because we like your arm,’” Francona said in the article. “We kept him on our ballclub because we think he has poise. … There’s a lot to like about this kid. He was good. He goes, ‘I know this is just the beginning, I know I have a lot to prove.’ It was just a fun message.”
He now joins what should be a talented group in the bullpen.
His Role in the Bullpen
Stephan should begin as a middle reliever and could easily work his way into a more high-leverage role.
The Indians will just have to hope he lives up to the hype.
#Indians Rule 5 RHP prospect Trevor Stephan into pitch the 9th inning already has his fastball up to 98 mph.
— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) March 18, 2021
The highest level he has pitched in is Double-A and he did not get any live game action in 2020 because of the season being canceled.
That is the inherent risk with any Rule 5 pick.
Fans must remember the Yankees chose not to protect Stephan, thus allowing him to be taken away by the Indians.
So far this spring he has made seven appearances, all in relief, and has allowed two earned runs in 7.1 innings of work.
He also has 10 strikeouts in that span.
The Opening Day bullpen is beginning to come together and it will be fun to see Stephan’s progression after being thrown right into an MLB bullpen with limited relief experience.