A former Bullard Panther baseball star is now a part of a new Major League Baseball Team, as Nick Rumbelow was recently traded from the New York Yankees to the Seattle Mariners.
Rumbelow, a right-handed pitcher and a graduate of Bullard High School in 2010, was traded Friday, Nov. 18 in exchange for a pair of minor league pitchers, left-hander JP Sears and righty Juan Then.
According to a story from the New York Post, Rumbelow was dealt to the Mariners by the Yankees for two minor league pitchers in an effort to relieve New York’s 40-man roster.
If Rumbelow were to remain on the Yankee’s roster, his spot would have been protected, leaving the team with just two open spots on the 40-man roster, which needed to be set by Monday, Nov. 20, the deadline to set rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.
In an exclusive interview with Bullard Banner News, Rumbelow said he is excited about having a new opportunity with his new team and is awaiting the chance to play as a Mariner.
“I am very blessed and fortunate to be able to compete at such a high level,” said Rumbelow. “Receiving a MLB deal from Seattle is a great opportunity for me, I look forward to being able to put on a Mariner uniform and pitch.”
A seventh round pick by the Yankees in the 2013 MLB First-Year Played Draft (224th overall), Rumbelow made his Major League debut after receiving a call up from the Yankees in June 2015, against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium.
In his debut, Rumbelow struck out two in two-thirds of an inning pitched. He ended the 2015 season with a 1-1 record with a 4.02 earned run average, allowing 16 hits, eight runs, seven earned runs, two home runs, and five walks, while striking out a total of 15 batters.
Despite being called up several times by the Major League team and finding success on one of the sport’s biggest stages, Rumbelow’s 2016 campaign came to a sudden halt days after Opening Day when it was revealed that he would require Tommy John Surgery.
After being released and re-signing with the team in November 2016, Rumbelow was optioned to the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes Barre after signing. He received an invitation from the Yankees to compete for a roster spot during the team’s 2017 Spring Training, but was placed on the seven day disabled list in early April.
Rumbelow came off the disabled list on June 1 and was assigned by the club to the Double-A Trenton Thunder, the Yankees’ Double-A club.
While with the Thunder, Rumbelow began his journey back after surgery, seeing action in a total of eight games, collecting a 0-0 record and a 2.38 ERA through 11.1 innings pitched, collecting 15 strikeouts and three walks, while allowing just five hits, three runs, and three earned runs. Rumbelow was perfect in save situations with the Thunder, collecting his only save out of one chance.
On July 3, Rumbelow received notice of his elevation back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he has remained. As a Railrider this season, Rumbelow’s arm was called upon in 16 appearances, amazing a 5-1 record with a 0.64 ERA In 28 innings, allowing 15 hits, four runs, and two earned runs, while collecting a total of 29 strikeouts, eight walks, and five saves out of six opportunities.
The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders performed well on the field last season, making it all the way to the Independent League North Division Championship Game, where Rumbelow was used as the team’s closing pitcher against the Rochester Red Wings Monday, Aug. 28.
In the contest, Rumbelow was called upon to pitch a total of 2.1 innings, collecting the save in the Railriders’ 5-3 victory over the Red Wings, allowing no hits and no runs with two strikeouts, as the Railriders captured their third consecutive Independent League North Division title, the team’s ninth title in the past 12 years.
Regarding his recovery and championship run with the Railriders, Rumbelow said the time away from the game helped to get him ready for a return both physically and mentally.
“I was so excited to recover fully and get to make a championship run in Triple-A with the Scranton Wilkes Barre Railriders<” said Rumbelow. “I learned so much in the time that I was recovery from UCL reconstruction. I felt that going into 17 I was very prepared mentally and physical and it allowed me to showcase my abilities.”
Rumbelow stated his time with the Yankees’ organization, both at the major and minor league levels, allowed for a lifelong dream of playing Major League Baseball to be granted.
“The New York Yankees changed my life and gave me the chance to fulfill a childhood dream of being a professional ball player,” said Rumbelow. “I was able to experience the game around some of the best people while with the organization. I am in the debt of the Yankees, [general manager] Brian Cashman, and many others that made all of this possible with believing in me. It was a first class organization from the very top, from the general manager to the clubhouse. The pinstripes will always mean a lot to me.”
Now, with a new team and a new season before him, Rumbelow said he has already begun to train and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that await him as a member of the Seattle Mariners organization.
“I am grateful for the new opportunity that awaits me,” said Rumbelow. “I am training in Tyler at APEC with Bobby Stroupe and Kye Heck in preparation of making an impact on the new team I will be a part of. I am pushing my body and mind to go into spring training ready to compete at a consistent high level. It really all starts with the off season training cycle, creating the proper mindset and body to maximize what I have to offer.”
According to Rumbelow, he has received an invitation to compete for a spot in the Mariner’s bullpen during the organization’s upcoming Spring Training, and will head to the Mariner’s Spring Training home in Peoria, Az. for the start of his new journey come February.
When asked about younger players looking up to him as a role model as they begin to chase their dreams, Rumbelow gave the advice of becoming the best athlete they can be.
“You have to enjoy the moments and the journey, stay focused on what is right in front of you, and strive to be the best person you can,” said Rumbelow. “Visualize yourself playing in major league stadium, believe it can happen, put it away, and have fun with the game and its challenges.”
After graduating from BHS, Rumbelow attended Louisiana State University after graduating from Bullard High School, helping the Tigers to reach the College World Series in 2013, where he pitched five scoreless innings in three opportunities in relief for the Tigers, allowing just one hit, while striking out eight batters.
He was a key for the LSU bullpen while in college, making 70 career appearances with a 3.71 ERA in 70.1 innings. He posted a 3-0 record while collecting 86 strikeouts and allowing 40 walks.