Landon Stump has a predicament most people would love to inherit.
“I have trouble gaining weight,” the incoming Live Oak High junior said. “One of my goals this summer is to put on at least five pounds. I try to eat as much as I can but my body has a fast metabolism, I guess.”
The 6-foot-3, 173-pound right-hander also wants to hit 94 mph on the radar gun by October. He first hit 90 in June 2020, at which point interest from Division I programs started to pick up. Last September, he made a verbal commitment to play at the University of Oregon, a Pac-12 powerhouse.
“I was talking to them for a while so I kind of had a feeling they would offer,” Stump said. “But it was still exciting because I didn’t know when it was going to happen.”
With a high velocity fastball and an improving slider, Stump plans on having another dominant season in 2022. Last season, Stump went 7-0 with a 1.42 ERA, averaging a strikeout per inning. However, Stump said his final start—in which the Acorns lost to Los Gatos 6-4 in the Central Coast Section Division I playoff quarterfinals—left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“I definitely didn’t pitch as well as I wanted,” he said. “I was out of rhythm in the first two innings and missed my spots at times. The guys who are returning, we’re all talking about getting ready for next year and motivated to try to win CCS the next two years.”
Stump wants to develop a top-notch slider because it looks like a fastball coming out of his hand but breaks sharply at the end, fooling hitters into missed swings.
“I started working on the slider two to three months ago,” he said. “My other pitch was a curve(ball), but it wasn’t very good. I want to be able to throw the slider in any count.”
Here is a scouting report on Stump via prepbaseballreport.com, which has him No. 5 in California’s class of 2023 baseball rankings: “(Stump) works mid-to-upper 80’s with the fastball that he pairs with a hard, biting slider. Command of both pitches has improved significantly to the point where either can be used as an out pitch. Stump flashes high spin rate with both pitches that he commands to all quadrants of the zone. Very projectable frame at 6-foot-3, 170-pounds that will easily withstand more mass.”
Stump is currently playing for Alpha Prime, one of Northern California’s elite traveling programs. He’s looking forward to an upcoming national tournament in Georgia which features approximately 400 teams throughout the country.
“For sure the No. 1 team will be there and the No. 5 team,” Stump said. “We’re expected to play the No. 5 team which will be really cool to compete against the best.”
Stump and his Live Oak and Alpha Prime teammate Aidan Keenan recently got selected to play in the prestigious Area Code Underclassmen Games on Aug. 12-14 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. The duo was chosen by MLB scouts who along with NCAA baseball coaches will be in attendance watching the top high school baseball players from the class of 2023 and 2024.
“I found out from coach (Erik) Wagle (of Dub Baseball) and I was pretty excited and just grateful to be selected,” he said.
Stump has been pitching for several years, but his career really took off at 13 when he gained 16 mph on his fastball.
“I started making showcases and thought maybe if I keep on working on my pitching, I could go somewhere with this,” he said. “I started taking pitching more seriously from that point on.”
Stump credits his dad Lane and Wagle in shaping his athletic career.
“My dad got me into baseball and taught me a love for the game,” Stump said. “He also made me realize how much work it would take which got me motivated. He always had time to take me to the field so I could get extra work in. And Wagle helps Aidan and I stay on schedule and makes sure we never miss a workout. He’ll provide anything we need from giving advice to rides to the training center.”
Stump enjoys his friendship with Keenan, as the two push each other to new heights. They work out together at Kinetic Performance Institute at the Dub Baseball facility, where before the season they engage in an off-season velocity program. Side by side on separate mounds, Stump and Keenan alternate throws, at times seeing who can throw the hardest.
“It’s cool to see the journey we’ve been on and we look forward to seeing how much farther we go,” Stump said.
If Stump continues to develop, he could reach his goal of getting drafted in June 2023.
Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]