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After almost a full year rehabbing from lat surgery, it’s time for Jonathan Stiever to redefine — or re-establish — his role with the White Sox.
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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 29: Jonathan Stiever

This once-ascendant starter has been taking baby steps after injury

Jonathan Stiever
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
210 pounds
Age: 25
2019 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 27
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking 5
2021 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 6
2022 SSS Top Prospect Ranking 25
2022 High Level Charlotte (AAA)
Age relative to high level -2.0 years
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system 10
Overall 2022 stats 0-0 ⚾️ 3 games (2 starts) ⚾️ 3 IP ⚾️ 0.00 ERA ⚾️ 0.000 WHIP ⚾️ 1 K ⚾️ 0 BB

Jonathan Stiever capped a great three-year run with the Indiana Hoosiers in 2018, when he posted a 3.41 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 16 starts spanning 100 innings, surrendering just 94 hits and 32 walks while striking out 97. Although MLB Pipeline ranked him 88th among all draft prospects, he mysteriously fell to the fifth round (138th overall) in the draft, where the White Sox happily snatched him up. Despite only pitching in just two- or three-inning spurts that year for Great Falls in High-Rookie ball, Stiever held his own for the Voyagers with a respectable 4.18 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 28 innings as he surrendered just 23 hits (.258 OBA) and nine walks (7.2%) while fanning 39 (33.2%).

In 2019, Stiever struggled unexpectedly for Kannapolis in 14 starts (77 innings) with a 4.74 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, as he ceded 88 hits (.293 OBA) and 14 walks (4.4%) while fanning 77 (24.1%). A promotion on June 20 to Winston-Salem to face more advanced hitters in a hitting-friendly ballpark, however, saw Stiever turning in an incredible 12 starts for the Dash. Although his walk (13) and strikeout totals (77) were eerily similar to Stiever’s Kannapolis numbers in nearly the same number of innings (71), hitters only batted .216 against his offerings. With the Dash he elevated his fastball, which made it far more difficult for opponents to hit. Thus, while Stiever maintained his solid walk (4.7%) and strikeout rates (28.0%) in A+ ball, his ERA and WHIP dropped precipitously, to 2.15 and 0.97.

Participating in Schaumburg’s alternate site in 2020 for much of the year, Stiever was promoted to the White Sox in an abbreviated stint and had a solid major league debut start, but overall didn’t fare well, with a 9.95 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in 6 1⁄3 innings (two starts). He uncharacteristically struggled with walks (four) while, worse yet, relinquishing the same number of homers.

The 2021 season was rough one for Stiever, as he compiled a 5.84 ERA and 1.46 WHIP for Charlotte in 17 starts. In his 74 innings, he surrendered 80 hits (.265 OBA) and 28 walks (3.4 BB/9) while fanning 88 (10.7 K/9). He surrendered a high number of gopher balls (13), but it can’t be blamed on the hitting-friendly Truist Field — he actually pitched better at home than on the road. Lefties were stifled somewhat, as they hit .236 against him, while righties hit 50 points higher.

Stiever was called up for one start with the White Sox on April 25, allowing three runs and four hits without retiring a hitter. Finally, on August 12, he was placed on the injured list, ultimately receiving season-ending right lat surgery shortly thereafter.

Due to that injury, Stiever did not see much of the field in 2022. He returned at the tail end and pitched three scoreless innings, posting a 3.84 FIP with Triple-A Charlotte.

It has been an unfortunate fall down the rankings for the 25-year-old, who was once as high as No. 5 in the White Sox farm rankings on MLB Pipeline — and No. 6 at South Side Sox. As of the end of 2022, Stiever found himself falling to No. 30. Stiever made his MLB debut back in 2020, and he also made one appearance in 2021 — so he still has time, but he has not had any MLB success to date.

Stiever’s Baseball Cube player ratings
K/BB 84
Walks 77
Strikeouts 65
Durability 58
Power 45
Hittable 45
Team Winning Percentage .514

At his peak, Stiever has had a fastball in the upper 90s. In addition to having the potential to fire fastballs well faster than league average speed, Stiever also has a 55-rated slider, a 50-graded curveball, and a 50-graded changeup. As a result, Stiever has a lot on paper, but he will be interesting to follow as he attempts to return to form post-lat surgery. Will he be the same pitcher who appeared to be among the most promising in the system? Time will tell.

Prior to Stiever’s injury that kept him out, command was lacking. Despite having a strong, balanced repertoire, he was hesitant to attack hitters with pitches in the zone early in counts. For Stiever to make an impact at the major league level, he will need to trust his ability to force weak contact and work to get ahead in counts rather than get hitters to chase outside the zone.

It’s hoped that the lat surgery will help Stiever rediscover his velocity. This may give him the confidence he needs to attack hitters and hit his spots with authority instead of nibbling around the corners — which ultimately leads to falling behind hitters and eventually leads him to groove one to the hitter’s liking. Ahead in the count, hitters were just .205 against him; behind in the count, hitters rocked at .351.

Stiever will continue to be closely monitored by the White Sox, and there’s a distinct possibility his starting days are numbered. He will pitch for the Triple-A Knights to begin 2023, and it will be interesting to track his usage.

2023 South Side Sox Top 101 White Sox Prospects

29. Jonathan Stiever, RHSP
30. Franklin German, RHRP
31. Tommy Sommer, LHSP
32. DJ Gladney, 1B
33. Drew Dalquist, RHSP
34. Adam Hackenberg, C
35. Tristan Stivors, RHRP
36. Andrew Pérez, LHRP
37. Duke Ellis, LF
38. Nicholas Padilla, RHRP
39. Dylan Burns, RHSP
40. Gil Luna Jr., LHRP
41. Eric Adler, RHRP
42. Garrett Schoenle, LHSP
43. Lane Ramsey, RHRP
44. Caleb Freeman, RHRP
45. Hunter Dollander, RHSP
46. Chase Solesky, RHSP
47. Godwin Bennett, RF
48. Wilber Sánchez, SS
49. Tyler Neslony, LF
50. Mario Camilletti, 2B
51. Sammy Peralta, LHRP
52. Jacob Burke, CF
53. Moisés Castillo, SS
54. Victor Quezada, 3B
55. Edgar Navarro, RHRP
56. Craig Dedelow, RF
57. Darío Borrero, 1B
58. Michael Turner, C
59. Tyler Osik, 1B
60. Haylen Green, LHRP
61. Mark McLaughlin, RHRP
62. Terrell Tatum, LF
63. Shawn Goosenberg, 2B
64. Randel Mondesí, LF
65. Emerson Talavera, RHRP
66. Declan Cronin, RHRP
67. Fraser Ellard, LHRP
68. Colby Smelley, C
69. Ethan Hammerberg, RHRP
70. Lincoln Henzman, RHRP
71. Vince Vannelle, RHRP
72. Brooks Baldwin, 3B-2B
73. James Beard, CF
74. Gabriel Rodríguez, RHSP
75. Ronny Hernandez, C
76. Troy Claunch, C
77. Brooks Gosswein, LHSP
78. Tim Elko, 1B
79. Yoelvín Silven, RHRP
80. Trey Jeans, LHRP
81. Jerry Burke, RHSP
82. Carlos Jiménez, 1B
83. Mason Adams, RHSP
84. Frankeli Arias, LHSP
85. Ernesto Jaquez, RHSP
86. Laz Rivera, 3B
87. Xavier Fernández, C
88. Álvaro Agüero, CF
89. Ben Norman, RF
90. Erick Bello, RHRP
91. Adisyn Coffey, RHRP
92. Arnold Prado, RF
93. Alsander Womack, 2B
94. Johan Domínguez, RHSP
95. Evan Skoug, C
96. Noah Owen, RHSP
97. Javier Mora, 2B
98. Will Kincanon, RHRP
99. Yohemy Nolasco, RHSP
100. Billy Seidl, RHRP
101. José Rodulfo, RHRP

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