Stanek has a plus 95-100 mph 4-seam FASTBALL with late arm side life that bores in on righthanded hitters. In July 2017. He also has a hard swing-and-miss 89-91 mph vertical SLIDER with a 50 grade. And he has some feel for a below-average 88-91 mph fading CHANGEUP that also has boring action. He also has an 89-92 mph SPLITTER that most call his changeup.
Possessing a quirky three-quarters delivery, Stanek is a power pitcher with a loose arm that can generate natural sink to his pitches. He shows confidence in his changeup by mixing it consistently at any time in the count. Stanek is working on staying on top of the ball and improving his command after pitching up in the zone too often.
Ryne's Scouting Grades: He has a 60 fastball, and a 50 grade slider, a 50 grade splitter plus a 40 on his changeup. And he has a fringe-average control for a 45. (Spring, 2017)
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 67% of the time; Change 14.6% of the time; Slider 14.9% of the time; and Curve .5% of the time.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 60.9% of the time; Slider 26.3%; and his Split 13.6% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 98.6 mph, Slider 89.7, and Split 88.9 mph.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 55.8% of the time; Slider 22.3%; and his Split 21.9% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 97.9 mph, Slider 90.1, and Split 88.4 mph.
2022 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 59% - 98.4 mph; Split 23% - 88.6 mph; Slider 18% - 87 mph.
In 2017, Stanek added his SPLITTER before spring training, and now Mr. Splitty looks like his high-octane 100 mph heater to the hitter, but has drop-off-the-table sink that has the batter flailing at the air.
Ryne has a seemingly effortless delivery that provides impressive heat. It is a sound arm motion, except that he throws slightly across his body with an arm swing. He throws from a good downhill plane, though.
He has made great progress learning to control his lean 6-foot-4 frame and to repeat his delivery, though his deep take-away and wrap behind his back sometimes hinders his command. If Stanek can fully harness his command, he has back-of-the-rotation starter stuff.
But the questions about his command "forced" a move to the bullpen two months into the 2016 season. He has that long arm swing and still hasn't shown that he has the body control or timing to have a consistent arm slot and release point. He may just not be athletic enough. So, the bullpen looks like his permanent home. (Spring, 2017)
Stanek has an electric right arm and pitches with an aggressive approach.
Ryne pitches with "a little bit of a high elbow in the back—it makes his hand come out on the side of the ball at times,” a National League scouting director said late in the summer of 2011. “It probably gives (his stuff) life, but also can create a little command issue. But I don’t think he’ll have to be a guy with big command; his life’s so good that he just has to have average or better control and I think he’ll do that.”
He is a solid competitor.
Some teams project Stanek as a reliever, but the Rays will continue to develop him as a starter with back-end potential in the rotation. (Spring 2015)
In August 2017, Ryne was called up to the Rays, and he had a splitter to go with his 100-plus heater.
"I think [Triple-A Durham pitching coach] Kyle [Snyder] and he discussed that maybe there was some more comfort with that pitch to put guys away with," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "And he kind of chose to attempt that over the slider for a couple of weeks, and I think he got really good results with it. So he changed a little bit. He said, 'I'm going to be more of a fastball-split guy rather than a fastball-slider guy.' And he saw his success go in a good direction."
After he was optioned back to Durham, Stanek recorded a 0.51 ERA, allowing one earned run with eight walks and 22 strikeouts in 16 appearances. His last 14 appearances were scoreless. Ryne had experimented with the splitter during the 2016 offseason and in 2017 Spring Training, but didn't really buy into it until he returned to Durham.
"I went down there and worked on it with Snyder a lot," Stanek said, "and it became a pretty big focal point for development."
Learning the pitch required gaining a feel for the pitch. "It's feel and being able to repeat the release point and not have one do what it's supposed to, and one do nothing," he said. "[You need] the ability to repeat something consistently. And if you can't do that, it's almost not usable."
Stanek explained that the pitch has a "straight down action" and sometimes heads to the arm side, but it looks like a fastball to hitters before the bottom falls out. "That's the whole point, sell fastball," he said.
Other than refining his split, Stanek said he's not that much different than before. "I don't think I changed a lot," he said.
"I just stayed aggressive and worked on my split a lot. My approach on the mound is just to stay aggressive and make them beat me instead of nibbling, then getting behind." (Chastain - mlb.com - 8/2/2017)
2018: Between the months of June and July, Stanek earned his way into the history books, going nine consecutive starts without allowing a run. Of course, the caveat to this is that most of those starts did not see an inning past the second, but a record is a record, and this was a pretty big accomplishment by Stanek.
Ryan talks about his splitter: “I picked up my split playing catch with my catching partner in Triple-A, Steve Geltz. This was during my first stint there. My changeup wasn’t very good, so I was like, ‘Show me how to throw your split.’ I’d never tried throwing one before.
“I started messing around with one. So, Geltz was kind of like the dude who showed me how to throw it. He was letting me throw the split to him as I was trying to figure it out, and it got to be pretty decent.
“It came time to throw it in a game. But I hadn’t really talked about it with [pitching coach] Kyle Snyder. I’d always thrown changeups in my warmups. The catcher put down a four, and I was like, ‘I guess I’m going to throw that.’ I threw it in the game and Snyder was like, ‘Dude, you can’t be doing that. Not without going over it with me.’ I was like, ‘That’s probably a good point. That’s valid.’
“Going into that offseason, I talked to him about it being a pitch I wanted to try to incorporate. I wanted something that wasn’t just going left. So I kind of forced myself to learn it. During the season, when I was up and down, there were times they’d send me down and were like, ‘Hey, just be fastball-split for this stretch.’ They wanted me to develop it more. They kind of forced it into my head. Not force the idea into my head, but forced the consistency into it.” (David Laurila - Fangraphs - March 11, 2019)
2020 Season: Stanek, 29, made his mark as the “opener” for the Rays in 2018-19, making 56 starts, none of which lasted more than two innings. He spent last season with the Marlins and allowed eight runs in 10 innings for Miami after battling COVID-19 last summer.
“Last year in 2020, I feel like I can almost write it off as an anomaly,” he said. “It was crazy from start to finish. I felt pretty good with how I finished the season. I was throwing the ball really well. I didn’t really have a big sample size, so I think just coming in with a full season and getting back to some normalcy will definitely be a plus.”
2021 Season: This past season, he posted a 3.42 ERA, with 83 strikeouts. Traded from the Rays to Houston in 2019, Stanek had struggled with his new team. This year he finally turned a corner and has continued his dominance into the postseason (two earned runs in 10 IP). Stanek allows the Nats another high leverage option.
- As of the start of the 2022, Stanek had a career record of: 5-12 with a 3.84 ERA, having allowed 36 home runs and 189 hits in 241 innings, while striking out 293.