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jake stinnett featureUnfortunately for Jake Stinnett and his Maryland Terrapins, the college season is over. Last night, the Virginia Cavaliers bounced Maryland from the NCAA Tournament, meaning that for Stinnett, a senior, college is over.

It’s not all bad, though, as now Stinnett can focus on starting his professional career with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft last week, the Chicago Cubs.

Although there are contracts to be signed and physicals to be taken, everyone rightly presumes Stinnett will soon formalize his relationship with the Cubs, and eventually head to Arizona to start working out with the club. Because he’s had a full college season (and then some) this year, however, don’t expect him to throw too many innings before the end of the year.

Sahadev Sharma spoke to Cubs VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod about that very issue:

I know folks hate to wait, but we probably aren’t going to know much about Stinnett as a prospect until next season – Spring Training/assignment time (at the earliest) – and you’re not going to want to judge much of anything based on how he looks in those 15/30 innings he gets at the end of this year.

McLeod also discussed why the Cubs were so eager to target Stinnett, who was roundly ranked as the top college senior in the draft.

“He was an athletic kid who was a conversion – he went into Maryland as a third baseman/pitcher,” McLeod told Sahadev Sharma, writing for ESPN. “So he doesn’t actually have as many innings under his belt as a lot of college pitchers do. This year was actually his first full season as a starting pitcher and he goes out and leads the ACC in strikeouts, big-time ground-ball rate, throws a lot of strikes. He’s already a physical guy that’s athletic and he’s a younger kid, for a fourth-year player in college, he’s actually at junior-age, he’s only 21. We felt all of those things lead to someone who’s still on the rise as a pitcher.”

And if all of that comes in the form of an under-slot senior sign, who didn’t sign as a junior only because teams hadn’t yet really had a chance to evaluate him as a full-time pitcher? This really has a chance to be an incredible pick by the Cubs.

 

David Laurila wrote a fantastic piece for FanGraphs in which, in part, he spoke with Stinnett about his pitch mix. After downplaying the importance of velocity to his game (he’s definitely got mid-90s heat if he needs it, though), Stinnett talked about his pitches.

“I throw both two-and four-seam fastballs. My two-seam moves a lot – it sinks a lot – so I have to throw it at the right times. It’s a big pitch if I’m trying to get a ground out. If I want to paint a pitch on the outer black, I’ll throw a four-seamer …. My slider is my second-best pitch. It was more of a curveball to start, and it’s still not really a true slider. It’s more of a slurve. It doesn’t quite have the velocity of a true slider, or the same horizontal tilt. My third pitch is a four-seam circle changeup. It’s good at times, but not as consistent as my other pitches so I don’t use it as much. I haven’t really needed to, although I’ll definitely have to develop it down the road.”

Ah, I love me a good two-seamer with significant sink. Check out Laurila’s piece for more on what Stinnett has to work on, and a bunch of other interesting pitcher bits (including a section on Blue Jays pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez).

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