Guest Scouting Report: 2nd round pick, RHP Jake Stinnett

Guest Scouting Report: 2nd round pick, RHP Jake Stinnett

We have another special guest scouting post for you today from Kevin.  This time on Cubs 2nd round pick Jake Stinnett, who was regarded as the best college senior in the draft.  That may be a dubious distinction, like being the fastest catcher (though the Cubs seem to have that as well in Mark Zagunis), but Stinnett is the real deal, as you will see from Kevin's report.  He was ranked 67th by Baseball America, 72nd by and 89th by Keith Law, so according to the "experts", he was a 2nd round talent, though considering the Cubs high position in the 2nd round, some might consider it an overdraft. but as Cubs VP of Scouting Jason McLeod has said, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." And it does appear that Stinnett was a pitcher on the rise late in the draft and that Law's ranking in particular may have been a bit outdated.

Stinnett may be a college senior but he isn't your typical one.  He has a fresh arm and he has some upside, since he didn't become a full-time pitcher until last year. Here's some video to give you a visual and some opinion on the pick.

Here is Kevin's report:

Name: Jake Stinnett
B/T: R/R
Pos: RHP

Body: Stinnett has a tall, slender build with long legs and arms. He appears to have a strong core though there is not much projection left in his frame. Body comp would be Justin Verlander.

Delivery: Here is where Stinnett still has some projection. He starts on the !B side of the delivery with his hands in front of his face, "Nolan Ryan Style". He starts his delivery with a side step and has a medium leg kick. He has a true 3/4 arm slot and a slight hitch to his delivery. He is inconsistent with his landing and his extension toward the plate. This can affect his velocity and command but luckily those delivery flaws are easily fixed. He shows good deception and hides the ball well.

Fastball: Stinnett's fastball has outstanding sink and tail action. The velocity is 92-94 but has touched 97 from time to time without max effort. His command can get a little off but I explained why in the delivery. His fastball is a plus pitch and could develop into more as he pitches more and gains arm strength.

Slider: Shows potential of being a plus pitch. It sits between 80-85 with hard, two plane breaking action. Without a doubt it can be an out pitch for him.

Change-up: This is a work in progress. Right now it is a below average pitch but he never really throws it. It is a low to mid 80s offering with tailing action. The movement on the pitch is good but at times it lacks separation from his fastball and slider, downgrading it to a below average pitch.

Summary: I have put a lot of negatives in this report but there is good news. He has only focused on pitching for one year and the progress he has made in that time is amazing. Given the right amount of time and coaching I think he could develop into a #3 starter, maybe more. I see a lot of Samardzija in him and I think he could develop more quickly, being a pure baseball guy. But the downside is that he never develops that 3rd pitch and ends up a reliever.

FB: 60/65
SL: 50/65
CH: 40/50
Command: 45/55

As you can see from Kevin's report, there appears to be some projection and upside left even though Stinnett is a college senior. He has already shown excellent aptitude and the ability to make adjustments quickly. Like Kevin implied, he may be a fresh-armed late bloomer like Jeff Samardzija The key seems to be refining three things: his slider, his change-up (which may get better now that he will actually need to use it more) and his command. Given the progress he has made so far, he is a candidate to move quickly, perhaps starting next season as high as Daytona.


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    Is it just me, or does he seem off balance?

  • In reply to Phil James:

    That's the hitch, extention and landing I was talking about that needs to see fixed.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Seems like much of that is created with his delivery as he creates an uneven plane with his shoulders. Would think this is something that could be cleaned up pretty easily.

    Saw Stinnett pitch in CWS vs. Virginia. You can never tell the accuracy of these guns, but his FB was 84-86 and only touched 90 one time.

    His slider was his out pitch and he got many swinging strikes with that. Needs to tighten up that control with it, but as Kevin says, has potential to be a plus pitch for him.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He did lose velo at the end of the year. Long season for him especially in light that he is still building up arm strength. Got the velo up but was unable to sustain it all year. I think that is what Kevin was saying that as he pitches more, he will build up that arm strength.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    His mechanics should be easy to clean up. He does needs to get more endurance but again that just takes time and he hasn't been pitching very long.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I watched it on ESPN2 and he was 87-88 even into the 7th where he threw his 115th pitch. He was throwing harder in the first inning (92), but he was wild and hit two batters then toned it down to gain control. He spoke about it in the post game but I can't find the interview anywhere.

  • Stinnett sounds promising, but I'm not counting on the Samardzija comp. It's good to read Keven' s opinion again.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    He is an outstanding athlete like Samardzija but his arm strength is a tick below Samardzija. Which that being said Stinnett has moreceived movement on his fastball.

  • Nice stuff Kevin! This report is consistent with what another scouting friend of mine communicated to me. He didn't scout him personally, just shared where his org had ranked him. In a nutshell he said his absolute ceiling was Shark, i.e., a solid #2 with just an occasional stinker, but his floor is a RP, potential closer...

    I'll take that combo with a fresh, live arm for our 2nd rounder anyday.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks I think he has a good shot at staying a SP.

  • Since he was a projected 2nd round pick that was rising, he might not want to agree to much of an underslot bonus. I am not worried though. Theo will reel him in the fold.

  • In reply to John57:

    Senior. Not much leverage.

  • luv it.. great work

  • His birthdate is actually in April of 1992, so he is actually "junior" age even though eligibility-wise he is a senior.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    No actually being born in April 1992 would have you graduating from college. I was born in October 1992 and I just finished my Junior year.

  • Thanks KG, great stuff. I imagine he was throwing solely out of the stretch as a reliever. During the VA game on ESPN, the announcers mentioned that a large portion of the damage done against Stinnett was done in the first inning this year. This makes sense with the delivery issue(s) in the scouting report. Looking forward to seeing him after this is cleaned up.

  • Thanks, Kevin. Great report! This is probably a naive question, but why was Stinnett rated so far behind Nola on prospect lists? It seems that their ceilings are roughly similar. Is it because Nola is far ahead in terms of development and much more likely to reach his ceiling as a 2/3 starter? On the other hand, Stinnett has an advantage in that he is a low-mileage arm.

  • In reply to October:

    Nola is much more polished.

  • He definitelyneedsto learn to "finish" his pitches. This is something I've been trying to get my sons to learn. Stinnet finishes to upright and doesn't finish towards the plate. I'm sure they will work on this with him.

  • Since we need some top pitchers in our farm system I how some
    of these guys work out. Also lets hope next month we acquire
    more good/great pitchers with trades

  • What ever happened to cut fastball and sinker. Every pitcher seems to throw fastballs and sliders.

  • Question out of ignorance, how does one "project" pitches? What are the things that tell you, for instance that his ceiling is:

    "FB: 60/65
    SL: 50/65
    CH: 40/50
    Command: 45/55"

    Is part of it the lack of velocity? I'm just curious as to how impossible it is for any and every pitcher to eventually "perfect" a pitch, and how we know (or can project) that they won't/what their "Ceiling" is. Forgive my ignorance on this subject.

    Thanks for sharing KG.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    First off the velocity is there. Basing what you saw on his final college start as to the pitcher he is you would be way off. The arm strength to last that long into the season right now. He hasn't had the conditioning for that yet. That and he hasn't been starting very .

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I'm really just wondering what goes into the projection of someone's pitches. How do scouts come to the conclusion that such and such pitcher's slider, for instance, is a 50 now with 65 potential? What goes into the future projection of a pitch?

  • Damn, that Slider looks like it could be nasty! Seems like he just needs to develop some consistency and clean up his mechanics. Solid frame, athletic, low-mileage arm with projection left, and an underslot college senior...a lot of value there, I see why the Cubs made this pick, and I'm liking it more and more.

  • Wouldn't be surprised to see him working on a curveball soon, or another 4th pitch Great starter kit alreay

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