For a few days now, speculation around the Cubs has centered on the possibility that they could save some money on their first round pick and use it on a high school pitcher, which this draft is loaded with. So naturally, the Cubs took the first college senior off the board, righty Jake Stinnett from Maryland. In case you don’t follow these things too closely, seniors are usually targeted for underslot money because a) they have zero leverage in the process and b) if they were better, they would have gone as juniors.
After the Cubs took Schwarber, Keith Law reported that they would go after high school righty Jack Flaherty, who may or may not have had a strong commitment to North Carolina, if Flaherty got past the Cardinals. He didn’t.
Evidently the Cubs either didn’t like any of the remaining big names from high school that much, or they think they can be had later in the draft (i.e. they have really strong college commitments). If it’s the former, this is likely to be a really cheap draft class for the Cubs. Kiley McDaniel is estimating Schwarber’s bonus at $3.5 million, which would be a little more than a million under the allotted slot for his position. If the latter, they could be targeting high schoolers tomorrow when most other teams are going for cheap seniors. I guess that could work out OK, though I was under the impression that most of these high-schoolers were prepared to go pro. And judging by how the rest of the second is playing out, the rest of the league thinks so too. As of this writing, 6 have gone off the board since the Cubs picked, and we’re only halfway through.
Stinnett was ranked at #67 overall by BA, #72 by mlb.com, and #81 by Scout. He’s big, at 6’4″, 215 lbs.
Stinnett came to Maryland from California as a position player, starting 40 games at third base in 2011. He hit just .174 (though he did hit five home runs) and also pitched five times, earning two saves, but he made just eight appearances in 2012. Stinnett has a pin in his elbow stemming from an injury at a younger age, but he has pitched with it for years. He pitched well in a relief role in 2012 in the New England Collegiate League and was MVP of the team’s fall World Series. He started 2013 as the closer but moved into the rotation eventually, going 6-5, 2.83 and reaching 93 mph. Stinnett’s stuff has continued to trend upward this spring, as he threw a no-hitter in February, dominated a head-to-head matchup in March with Carlos Rodon and North Carolina State, and has reached 97 mph with his fastball, which usually sits 92-95 with above-average life. He gets extension in his delivery and has a pitcher’s frame at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. His hard 78-83 mph slider is his preferred second pitch, with a too-firm, little-used changeup also in his repertoire. Stinnett is a senior but also a legitimate top-three rounds talent with something left in the tank due to his relative inexperience as a pitcher.
Stinnett has the chance to be the first senior to come off the board in 2014.
Originally a two-way player who played third base for the Terrapins, Stinnett started focusing on pitching only as a junior in 2013. He’s really taken off this season, showing a jump in velocity up into the mid 90s with plenty of sink. His slider has greatly improved, flashing as a plus pitch. His changeup is behind the other two, but he has shown some feel for it. The focus on pitching has helped his command, and he’s able to pitch to both sides of the plate.
There is some effort to his delivery, but not enough to make a team think he can’t start. College seniors typically are value picks, but Stinnett has the chance to go in the early rounds based on his size and stuff alone.
A pin in his elbow and some effort in his delivery, eh? I’m not crazy about how this has draft has played out so far.
Stay tuned to OV for continuing coverage of rounds 3-10 tomorrow.