When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Baseball America 52
Graeme Stinson was projected by many to be a Top 10 selection in this year’s draft. However, after struggling through the first month for the Blue Devils, his stock has fallen significantly. What complicates his status is that while he did such an outstanding job in relief last year for Duke, his control and overall numbers haven’t been nearly as good as a starter. Another complicated factor is listed below. Here are his collegiate results through May 9, 2019:
2017 12 G, 9 GS, 6.67 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .222 OBA, 28 IP, 24 H, 12 BB, 45 Ks
2018 23 G, 4 GS, 1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .200 OBA, 62 IP, 43 H, 19 BB, 98 Ks
2019 5 G, 5 GS, 4.58 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .167 OBA, 19.2 IP, 12 H, 9 BB, 26 Ks
When looking at his freshman and junior seasons (where he was primarily a starter), it’s easy to notice that his ERA is disproportionately greater than his WHIP. Since his OBA is quite low, it seems that the culprit may be Stinson’s walks, which are currently at 4.12 per nine innings. Usually, when somebody has a good WHIP but high ERA, that’s a sign that they give up one or two big innings a game while shutting the opponents down the rest of the way.
There is a legitimate concern about his control, thanks to his massive build (6´5´´, 250 pounds). With his size (think Lucas Giolito), it may be difficult for Stinson to consistently repeat his delivery for 80-110 pitches a game. Thus, the concerns are intensifying as to whether Stinson will be a starting pitcher going forward at the professional level. Another item of note: In two seasons pitching in the Cape Cod League compiling 23 1⁄3 innings (mostly in relief), Stinson posted a combined 1.93 ERA and 0.99 WHIP as he relinquished just 14 hits and nine walks while striking out a whopping 44.
Stinson features a three-pitch repertoire, featuring a nasty fastball-slider combo. His lively fastball reaches 92-94 mph per 2080 Baseball. His fastball runs 92-95 mph with sinking movement, while his slider is considered plus-plus by MLB Pipeline thanks to is 82-85 mph velocity and solid bite; in fact, that slider was considered the best in Baseball America’s preseason rankings. Stinson also offers a changeup, which is still a work in progress. MLB grades his slider at 65 and fastball 60, while grading his changeup and command both at 50. A big concern, no pun intended, is his size. When Stinson was a high school senior, he was listed as 6´5´´ and 215 pounds by Perfect Game; in three years, he’s put on 35 pounds.
As alluded to above, there is a complicating factor pertaining to Stinson’s draft status: injuries. For Stinson’s first few outings of 2019, he looked like the same pitcher who allowed just one run and struck out 18 batters in 13 1⁄3 innings of NCAA tournament work last year. The junior hurler allowed no runs in his first three starts of the season, which all ended with a Blue Devils victory. But Stinson struggled in his next two appearances, allowing 10 earned runs and 20 baserunners in 7 2⁄3 innings against Virginia and Louisville. Stinson, who relies on a powerful fastball and a nasty slider to get opposing batters out, did not appear to have the same arm strength in these two outings. After routinely lighting up the radar gun to the tune of the mid-90s in his relief role last season, the southpaw was sitting in just the mid-80s against the Cardinals on March 15. He has not appeared in game action since that start. Nothing’s been officially announced, so there likely will be lingering doubts regarding Stinson prior to the upcoming draft.
All three sites listed above have dropped him out of the Top 10 in their initial preseason rankings; however, despite the concerns regarding his health and his ability to start, Stinson is still projected for the second round. Certainly, scouts will want to review all medical reports on Stinson before pulling the trigger on him with such a high pick. Due to the severity of injuries to top White Sox prospects (now, including Carlos Rodón), it’s unlikely the White Sox will take a chance on Stinson — especially in the first two or three rounds. If Stinson would fall significantly, to perhaps the fifth round or lower, the team may take a chance on him — perhaps paying him an over-slot bonus to convince Stinson to eschew his senior season with the Blue Devils. Stinson’s talent, when healthy, is definitely too much to ignore completely.
Here’s a video of Stinson pitching against Chinese Taipei as a member of the USA National Collegiate Baseball team last year, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:
In place of the long list of Draft Prospects You Should Know with story links that usually resides here, just click the “Draft Prospects You Should Know” on our page, below the main stories, to access a list of every player so far profiled.