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 MLB.com. 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that Stinnett was a pitcher on the rise late in the draft and that Law's ranking in particular may have been a bit outdated.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
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.
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.