Jason Stoffel, a 24-year-old right-hander from Agoura, Calif., was one of two RedHawks selected to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game.
A fourth-round pick by the San Francisco Giants in 2009, Stoffel played at the University of Arizona. He was traded two years ago to the Astros in a July deal that sent Jeff Keppinger to San Francisco.
For the season, Stoffel is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA and five saves at Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He has held opposing hitters to a .197 batting average, including limiting PCL hitters to a .178 average in 31 games with the RedHawks.
Q: What was your reaction to being named a PCL All-Star?
A: “This is the highest level of minor league ball. To be recognized as one of the guys that's stood out is a big honor. Other than a couple of championship rings (in high Class A and short season) that's the coolest thing that's happened for me.”
With Josh Zeid being called up to the Astros you might get some save opportunities. Is there a different mindset to being a closer?
“I don't know. You're still asked to get three outs. Everyone puts a lot of emphasis on it. I guess there's a little added pressure, but there's also pressure on the hitter. It's just a little bit more intense situation.”
What is the coolest part of being a professional baseball player?
“Being a pro baseball player. You're playing a kid's game for money. It doesn't get much better than that.”
What are your favorite stadiums you've pitched in?
“I really like Springfield a lot. Corpus Christi is awesome. Those are my top two. They have great fans and great stadiums.”
You're a military history buff? When did that begin to interest you?
“When I was in third grade I remember checking out the same book and rereading it over and over. It was World War II history. I fell in love with it. It's pretty much everything on wars. I like it all. I like planes and aircraft carriers a lot. I just enjoy reading.”
What was your favorite memory at the University of Arizona?
“When we won the regional at Michigan we dogpiled there. That was a lot of fun. We went to Miami for the Super Regional and couldn't quite pull it out, but it was a great group of guys.”
Who is the toughest hitter you've ever faced?
“In college. Brett Wallace (at Arizona State) was the toughest hitter I've ever seen. If I stayed in the same organization with him the rest of my career I'd be happy.”
Since you and Wallace were teammates this season did you inform him of that fact?
“Yeah, I did. He laughed. He said, ‘I wish I was hitting like that now.' He was struggling at the time. Now he's hitting the crap out of the ball like he used to.”