Shohei Ohtani is one of the biggest offseason signings in the MLB so far this year for the Los Angeles Angels because of his ability to produce at the plate and on the mound. Virginia Tech has a two-way star of their own in outfielder and left-handed pitcher Tom Stoffel. Last year, Stoffel batted .342 with eight home runs, 49 RBIs, and had a .563 slugging percentage while leading the ACC in doubles at the end of the regular season. The senior from Dayton, Ohio also made nine appearances from the bullpen in 2017 with a 2.45 ERA and one save. Stoffel will be a big bat in the middle of the lineup and a lefty matchup arm out of the bullpen in 2018 for the Hokies.
Q: What would you do if you won the lottery?
TS: I would probably pay for my sister’s college first. Then, I’d definitely take my family on a nice vacation.
Q: If you could trade places with anyone in the world for a day, who would it be and why?
TS: The Rock for sure. That dude lives the life in every aspect.
Q: Who’s your favorite baseball team and player?
TS: Favorite baseball team is the St. Louis Cardinals. My favorite player is Albert Pujols.
Q: What’s your favorite baseball memory?
TS: Definitely beating No. 1 FSU last year, two out of three.
Q: As a two way player, would you rather strikeout the side to close out the game or hit a homerun to take the lead in a game?
TS: Home run, for sure.
Q: How do you think you and the team have come to adopt Coach Szefc’s “Build it in Blacksburg” motto so far this year?
TS: It’s fun. It’s definitely a new atmosphere, and I think that’s really what we’re building. Obviously, it goes along with the theme of the new stadium, but building a new era and atmosphere. It’s just a new mindset. Really just playing for the people who are going to come out for you. It’s my senior year, so it’s the last chance that I’m going to have to play for Virginia Tech. I might not make an impact five years from now, but I just want to go out with a bang and have a good season. Help everyone to come after me.
Q: Last year you earned 2nd team All-ACC honors, batting .342 as opposed to .270 the previous year. What do you think was the key in your approach at the plate to see this jump in numbers?
TS: I think just staying within myself. Definitely a little more confidence. With that .270, I was injured a little bit that season, so that had a big part to do with it. Confidence is the biggest thing. Confidence that my coaches and teammates instilled in me was unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough for that.
Q: Towards the end of the year last season you were used on the mound more and more. What kind of role do you expect to play out of the bullpen this year?
TS: Just do whatever they need me to do. If they need me to start or come out of the pen, I’m good to do whatever they want me to do.
Q: How difficult is that to have to do drills with the hitters and drills with the pitchers to balance out the work you’re getting as a two-way player?
TS: It’s tough because obviously your time is restricted a little more than most of the guys, so you just have to be more efficient I think is the big key. Each one helps each other, you’re doing different movements and staying athletic in different ways, so I think that helps a lot too.
How do you want people to remember Tom Stoffel when you take off the Virginia Tech jersey for the last time?
TS: I would definitely say that I want them [opponents] to have said that they don’t want to face me on the mound or hitting, whatever it is. The next thing is definitely being a good teammate and friend to everyone on the team. Someone who was fun to be around.