#000000;”>RHP Kramer Champlin found himself in both the bullpen and the starting rotation for the Lugnuts in 2012. (Photo Credit: Whitecap Wendy)
There is no denying that the Lansing Lugnuts 2012 season was surrounded by phenomenal pitching. And right-handed pitcher, Kramer Champlin was one of those arms. Champlin spent most of the season in the bullpen before making his way to the back end of the starting rotation before the season ended.
Champlin’s journey in the Blue Jays organization began after being drafted in the 33rd round of the 2011 MLB draft out of Arizona State University where he spent one season after playing two years at Western Nevada. “I was excited to be picked by any team.” Champlin stated. “I talked to a lot of teams before the Blue Jays called and said they drafted me. I was excited and was ready to get the program started,” stated the 22-year-old native of Olympia, Washington.
At Arizona State, Champlin was 9-4 with a 2.85 ERA with 95 strikeouts, 35 walks in 117 innings of work. While at Western Nevada, Kramer was 18-3 with a 1.70 ERA with 136 strikeouts, 38 walks, eight saves, and six complete games in 143 1/3 innings of work over the two season. “Arizona State was awesome; I absolutely loved it there. I live there in the off season as I love the weather there. You get to play baseball every day. There are great people down there and a great baseball atmosphere. It’s just a blast!”
Beginning his professional career in 2011, Champlin split his time with the GCL Blue Jays and the Vancouver Canadians going 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA with 11 strikeouts and four walks in 16 innings of work. “Vancouver was amazing. It was my first year of professional baseball and we won the NWL Championship. The fans are crazy and it is an incredible atmosphere. The support there makes you feel like a big leaguer. Although I’ve never been one, the support there makes you feel like one. You can’t ask for more than that!”
“Winning the championship was a dream come true. I’ve come close to winning championships in high school, junior college, and almost made it to the college World Series at Arizona State, but finally winning a championship and getting a ring was an unbelievable experience,” added Champlin.
Kramer was able to help his team both in the bullpen and in the starting rotation. He started in three games and made 26 appearances out of the bullpen. Lansing Lugnuts’ pitching coach, Vince Horseman, spoke about Champlin’s ability to handle both roles throughout the season. “Kramer did a great job all season in the bullpen,” said Horseman. “It just so happened we needed somebody in our rotation near the end of the year and he fit the spot. We originally put Blake McFarland in the spot but he struggled a little bit so we wanted to take some pressure off of him and let him go back to the bullpen.Kramer had done a nice job all season so it made sense to insert him into the rotation.”
Champlin indicated that his success derives from his pitch repertoire, “I have four pitches. A fastball, curveball, changeup, and slider. I try to use them all every outing. My fastball is between 87 to 89 mph. I’ve gotten up to 90 a few times it’s got a little bit of movement and I just try to throw it for strikes.”
“I feel my strength as a pitcher is throwing four pitches for strikes. I feel my curveball is my best pitch. I throw it hard and it’s pretty sharp,” added Champlin.
In 2013, Champlin is determined to continue to find success upon entering his third year of professional baseball.