TOMMY Fredrickson LA STELLA
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   2B
Home: N/A Team:   GIANTS
Height: 5' 11" Bats:   L
Weight: 180 Throws:   R
DOB: 1/31/1989 Agent: Beverly Hills
Uniform #: 9  
Birth City: Westwood, N.J.
Draft: Braves #8 - 2011 - Out of Coastal Carolina Univ. (SC)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2011 SAL ROME   63 232 46 76 13 5 9 40 2 2 26 28 .401 .543 .328
2012 GCL GCL-Braves   5 13 4 3 0 1 1 3 0 0 4 1 .444 .615 .231
2012 CAR LYNCHBURG   85 298 43 90 22 5 5 56 13 2 36 24 .386 .460 .302
2013 SL MISSISSIPPI   81 283 32 97 21 2 4 41 7 1 37 34 .422 .473 .343
2013 CAR LYNCHBURG   7 20 7 11 1 0 1 4 1 1 8 1 .690 .750 .550
2014 IL GWINNETT   47 167 18 49 6 1 1 23 1 1 25 14 .384 .359 .293
2014 NL BRAVES   93 319 22 80 16 1 1 31 2 1 36 40 .328 .317 .251
2015 NL CUBS $513.00 33 67 4 18 6 0 1 11 2 0 5 7 .324 .403 .269
2015 PCL IOWA   9 33 3 11 2 1 1 6 0 0 4 3 .395 .545 .333
2015 SL TENNESSEE   10 36 9 9 3 0 0 3 0 0 3 1 .325 .333 .250
2016 SL TENNESSEE   2 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .714 .500 .500
2016 PCL IOWA   12 44 6 12 2 0 1 3 0 0 2 9 .304 .386 .273
2016 NL CUBS $532.00 74 148 17 40 12 1 2 11 0 1 18 27 .357 .405 .270
2017 NL CUBS   73 125 18 36 8 0 5 22 0 0 20 18 .389 .472 .288
2017 PCL IOWA   33 110 14 24 2 0 1 6 0 1 10 22 .281 .264 .218
2018 NL CUBS $950.00 123 169 23 45 8 0 1 19 0 1 17 27 .340 .331 .266
2019 AL ANGELS $1,350.00 80 292 49 86 8 0 16 44 0 0 20 28 .346 .486 .295
2020 AL ANGELS $647.00 28 99 15 27 8 0 4 14 1 0 15 7 .371 .475 .273
2020 AL ATHLETICS $557.00 27 97 16 28 6 2 1 11 0 0 12 5 .369 .423 .289
2021 NL GIANTS   76 220 26 55 11 1 7 27 0 0 18 26 .308 .405 .250
Personal
  • La Stella was a first team All-New Jersey baseball player at Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J. As a junior, he hit .542 with five home runs. As a senior, La Stella hit .525 with six home runs and 38 RBIs.

  • Tommy began his college career at St. John's University in New York. But he transferred to Coastal Carolina in South Carolina and hit .398, nearly winning the Big South Conference triple crown in 2011.

  • In 2011, Tommy got drafted by the Braves (see Transactions below).
  • In 2014, Baseball America rated La Stella as the 9th-best prospect in the Braves organization.

  • Tommy is a gamer who gets every bit out of the ability he has. He gets his uniform dirty because he plays the game hard. He may not be the most athletic guy, but he is the guy you want on your team—a great teammate.

  • Tommy might be the first player to reach the Major League level with the help of a donkey. This came after he quit playing baseball during the summer leading into his senior year at St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J.

    "It was really a perspective issue," La Stella said of his decision to briefly stop playing. "It was one of those things where I really didn't understand just how blessed and fortunate I was to be able to do what I had been doing. It took my stepping away from the game and realizing that I'm very lucky and fortunate to be able to do this.

    "Thank God for my parents, because they made me go out and get a job. Getting the job really gave me the perspective I needed to really get back into it and realize that I have a gift and I was wasting my talent."

    When La Stella decided that baseball was denying him the chance to partake in the summer fun some of his friends were enjoying leading into their senior year of high school, his parents did not allow him to remain idle. Instead, they led him through a job search that ultimately landed him employment at a farm stand.

    Along with delivering bales of hay that would be used for Halloween arrangements, La Stella had a wide range of responsibilities, none of which was more influential than the task of feeding an uncooperative donkey.

    "Every night when I would go to feed this donkey, as I was carrying that bucket of food out there, I was thinking, 'What am I doing?'" La Stella said. "I could be playing ball, and I could be going to college the next year. That was where I rediscovered my passion for baseball.  (Bowman - mlb.com - 3/18/14)

  • "If you spend a few minutes talking to Tom, you will see he is supremely confident in his ability," Dr. Phil La Stella said of his son. "Whatever it takes, that's his approach, and he believes he will get it done."

    Along with placing a pitching machine in the family's basement 15 years ago, the elder La Stella has served as an inspiration to his son, whose perseverance is strengthened by the daily reminder that his father was 29 years old before he went to the Dominican Republic to attend medical school.

  • During 2014 spring training, Tommy relished the opportunity to focus on various parts of his game this spring. In the minors, much of the work is done in groups, whereas players at the highest level have the chance to focus on specific aspects.

    “They definitely treat you like men in big league camp and there’s a lot of accountability,” La Stella said, “especially with everything that gets thrown on you.

    “If you want to get better, there is every opportunity to do it. If not, well, it’s your career. Either way, you’re going to be held accountable, and you’re expected to be ready to contribute when called upon.”

  • What started as an innocuous College World Series semifinal matchup last summer turned into an event with permanent implications for two members of the Cubs. When the TCU Horned Frogs matched up against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, former-Horned Frog Jake Arrieta and former-Chanticleer Tommy La Stella placed a wager on the outcome: The alum of the losing team had to get a tattoo of the winning team.

    And make no mistake, we're not talking about a temporary tattoo here. Coastal Carolina won the whole thing, defeating TCU. Which meant Arrieta had to live up to his end of the bargain and he now has a "CCU '16 Champs" tattoo. (Cut4/MLB)

  • July 2019: La Stella represented the Angels in the All-Star Game. Mike Trout and La Stella both paid tribute to the late Tyler Skaggs by wearing his No. 45 on their jerseys at the All-Star Game at Progressive Field.

    July 8, 2019: After suffering a fractured right tibia on July 2, Tommy will be out of action for 8 to 10 weeks. La Stella said he’d think about whether he’d attend the All-Star festivities. He decided to take part in the festivities instead of going home to New Jersey to rest and see family.

    “He was in between,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s a pretty humble guy, and he felt like he might be in the way with his crutches and he didn’t want to be a bother. I, hopefully, convinced him that that was not the case at all.”  (Bollinger - mlb.com)

  • 2020 Season: After a breakout season cut short by injury in his first year with the Angels, Tommy La Stella just kept hitting in 2020, and then was traded away after the team fell out of contention.

    La Stella followed up his stellar 2019 with an even better year in some respects. He had a higher on-base percentage (.370), wOBA (.355) and wRC+ (129) than he did the season before, giving the Angels a very productive top of the lineup, with La Stella surrounded by Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and David Fletcher.

    But despite La Stella’s (la)stellar contributions, the Angels were just 10-22, already out of contention when he was traded to the A’s on August 29.

    At the time of the trade, La Stella’s 135 wRC+ was in the top third of all qualified hitters in the American League, and he had the lowest strikeout rate (6 percent) in the Majors.

    La Stella’s time with the Angels was brief, totaling just 108 games in parts of two seasons. But he hit 20 home runs. And his .194 isolated power is the second-highest of any middle infielder in franchise history with at least 100 games, trailing only Rex Hudler.

    La Stella’s contribution to the Angels might not be finished, even if he doesn’t return. Oakland sent along one-time top prospect Franklin Barreto, who has yet to succeed in the Majors and is already out of options. If Barreto can turn things around — he’ll only be 25 next year — the Angels could potentially get four years out of the infielder.

    That’s probably wishful thinking, but then again so was getting 20 home runs and a 122 OPS+ out of an infielder with 10 career home runs in 396 games and a 94 OPS+ that they acquired in La Stella. (Eric Stephen@ericstephen - Nov 9, 2020)

            TRANSACTIONS  

  • June 2011: The Braves picked Tommy in the 8th round, out of Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And he signed for $105,000, via scout Billy Best.

  • November 16, 2014: The Braves traded La Stella to the Cubs for Arodys Vizcaino. 

  • Jan 12, 2018: Tommy and the Cubs avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $950,000.

  • Nov 29, 2018: The Cubs traded Tommy to the Angels for Future Considerations.

  • Jan 11, 2019: Tommy and the Angels avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.

  • Jan 10, 2020: Tommy and the Angels avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $3.2 million.

  • August 28, 2020: The A’s struck a deal with the Angels, acquiring infielder Tommy La Stella in exchange for second baseman Franklin Barreto. (Editor's note: In 2020, the trade deadline was August 31 due to Covid-19.)

  • Oct 28, 2020: Tommy elected free agency.

  • Jan. 27, 2021: The Giants signed La Stella to a three-year pact for $18 million. La Stella’s contract is backloaded, a function of “both player and team preference,” per Farhan Zaidi. La Stella will earn $2 million in 2021, $5.25 million in 2022, and $11.5 million in 2023. (His deal also features annual donations to the Giants Community Fund.) 

Batting
  • La Stella swings the bat with authority from the left side. His bat is his best tool, because he is not real good with the glove. And he makes plenty of hard contact. And he rarely strikes out.

    He generates plus bat speed from a wide stance, discouraging pitchers from busting him inside with a short, quick stroke and an unflinching mentality against southpaws.

  • Tommy has an unusual batting stance, with his feet close together and his lead foot open before stepping in toward the plate.

  • He has above average bat speed. He lines the ball into the gaps and hits for a good batting average. He should 8 to 10 home runs per season and a whole lot of doubles. Plus, he walks more than he strikes out. He is a good, pure hitter.

  • La Stella has a very good eye at the plate with excellent hand-eye coordination and an exceptional feel for the strike zone. He does the little things well offensively.

    Tommy works the pitcher deep into counts, then either accepts a walk, or makes contact for a knock.

    "In 2013, my plate discipline, my mental approach to what I’m trying to do and then executing at the plate all took big strides," La Stella said during 2014 spring training.

  • This lefty batter hits both lefthanded and righthanded pitching well.

  • Tommy is an impressive situational hitter with his ability to advance runners via the hit-and-run or by bunting.

  • "We've always liked his bat," Braves general manager Frank Wren said of La Stella. "He got drafted because of his bat. He reported to Rome his first year and hit, and he's hit ever since. I think keeping him healthy and keeping him on the field has really been one of the challenges. But when he plays, offensively, he's done everything we could hope and more." (3/18/14)

  • August 8, 2014: After hitting what proved to be a decisive home run off Stephen Strasburg to begin the bottom of the fifth, La Stella neared the Braves dugout, momentarily stood still while smirking, and then walked past an expressionless Fredi Gonzalez toward the tunnel leading to the clubhouse.

    "I figured I was going to get the big league silent treatment, seeing how I had been up here for about three months with no home runs," La Stella said. "So when I got down there and saw them all sitting, that was pretty much what I expected.

    "I went right up the tunnel. I froze them out myself. I countered their big league treatment and then came out and it was fine."

    When La Stella reemerged from the tunnel, he stopped at the top of the dugout stairs, smirked again, and then was swarmed by Jason Heyward, Chris Johnson, Alex Wood, and his other teammates.

    "It was pretty surreal," La Stella said. "I felt pretty light going around those bases."  (Mark Bowman - MLB.com - 8/9/2014)

  • June 25, 2019: La Stella smacked an inside-the-park homer to lead off the first inning against Reds righthander Tyler Mahle.

  • In 2020, La Stella  batted .281 with an .819 OPS and five home runs over 55 games between the Angels and the A’s during the short season.

    In 2019, he emerged as an All-Star for the Angels, hitting .295 with an .832 OPS and 16 homers over 80 games.

  • La Stella will bring elite contact ability to San Francisco’s lineup. He struck out just 12 times in 228 plate appearances and had the fifth-lowest whiff-per-swing rate among qualified hitters in 2020.

    President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has said that he felt the Giants were “maybe a lefthanded bat short” in 2020. While the Giants matched up well against lefthanded pitching (.838 OPS), they had a harder time hitting righthanders (.764 OPS). La Stella recorded a .903 OPS against righties in 2020, so he should help balance the lineup and serve as a potential platoon option for Longoria and Flores. (M Guardado - MLB.com - Jan 27, 2021)

  • As of the start of the 2022 season, La Stella had a career Major League batting average of .270 with 38 homers and 190 RBI in 1,536 at-bats.

Fielding
  • Tommy is not that good with the glove, even at second base. He doesn't have much athleticism, so defense is not is forte. He has gotten better at turning double-plays but struggles with groundballs to his backhand.
  • La Stella has fringe-average arm and range.
  • Tommy can be a good, lefty-hitting utility player in the big leagues. He makes all the routine plays and he won't cost his team runs with mental errors.
  • He has really good instincts for the game, and his hands are quick. He may not possess quick-twitch athleticism but his intelligent approach to the game enables him to make all the routine plays.
  • La Stella does a good job on the double play.
  • La Stella has made major strides defensively, after his first week in the Majors included a costly eighth-inning error in a loss, and three straight early exits for defensive replacements.

    La Stella showed good range in a later game by snagging a couple of tough grounders before making a diving grab to his left to rob a batter, denying him a two-out single in the ninth.

    "Anytime the scouting report says 'lacking defensively,' obviously, you want to be able to kind of put that to rest and play good defense," La Stella said.  (Bowman & Morgan - mlb.com - 6/3/14)

  • In 2019 and 2020, La Stella played some first base and third base, in addition to his usual second base.
Running
  • Though Tommy doesn't have a lot of quickness, he runs the bases well. But he has below-average speed. He's not speedy, but he is quick enough and has enough expertise to steal a few bases. La Stella will get the job done, effectively and efficiently running the bases.

    His lack of speed is not a liability; it just isn't a strength.

Career Injury Report
  • April 5-29, 2013: Tommy was on the D.L. He first suffered an elbow injury at the beginning of spring training.

  • 2013: Tommy suffered from hamstring injuries.

  • April 9-Aug. 11, 2015: La Stella was on the DL with right rib cage inflammation.

  • June 8-July 6, 2016: Tommy was on the DL with a hamstring strain.

  • June 5-14, 2017: La Stella was on the DL.

  • July 2-Sept 28, 2019: Tommy was on the IL with right fibia fracture.  

  • May 2, 2021: La Stella was forced to depart early after suffering a left hamstring strain in the fifth inning.  He pulled up lame as he crossed home plate. Tommy will have an MRI to determine extent of injury.

    May 4-Aug 4, 2021: Tommy was on the IL with left hammy strain.

  • Oct. 2021: Tommy underwent surgery to repair a nagging Achilles issue. He is expected to be out for 4 months.

    April 5 May 16, 2022: Tommy was on the IL with a nagging Achilles injury. La Stella was expected to play three to five innings at second base in the Giants' Cactus League finale, but he was scratched with soreness in his left Achilles. Manager Gabe Kapler said La Stella is day to day and will continue to receive treatment. La Stella has started only one game at second base this spring, but the Giants will have the option to carry him on the roster even if he isn't at 100 percent, as they could slot him into the designated hitter spot early in the season.