Scouting Blue Jays Prospect #23: John Stilson

The Toronto Blue Jays selected right-handed pitcher John Stilson in the third round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Texas A&M University. Another big-time power arm, it's his refined secondary arsenal and good control that gives Toronto some intriguing long-term role options.

Vital Statistics:
Name: John Stilson
Position: Pitcher
DOB: July 28, 1990
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He has yet to make his official professional debut, limited thus far to Instructional League and Spring Training camps, but he earned the reputation as a control power pitcher during his years at Texas A&M University.

"Stilson pitches like his hair is on fire," Blue Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish told FutureJays.com upon his selection. "He's in attack mode all of the time.

"It's an extremely aggressive, up-tempo delivery in style. He's got a plus changeup. He'll flash you a plus breaking ball. Obviously the fastball has been up to 97 [mph], pitching in that 94-95 mph range.

"He's extremely aggressive, one of those types of guys who can't sit still, but like that, that good fiery aggressive makeup with kind of an intense/effort/aggressive delivery with stuff."

It's rare to find that kind of power pitcher with advanced secondary pitches who also boast the kind of control he has. He walked less than three batters per nine innings over his final two years of school.

It's that combination of no-nonsense approach and plus stuff that can completely take over an at-bat, and Stilson himself knows what his goal is on the mound.

"When I get everything going, I try to overwhelm the hitter," Stilson said.


Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Slider, Curveball.

Fastball. Stilson is power pitcher in every sense of the term. He attacks batters with four-seam fastballs ranging anywhere from 92-97 mph consistently on a given day, and he reportedly threw as high as 99 mph during his college days. While he doesn't have the greatest command of his fastball, he does have enough control over it to work himself back into counts and he's got the kind of quick delivery and deceptive speed to overpower batters.

Other Pitches. What makes Stilson's fastball even more effective, as if it needed to be, is the possession of a plus big league power changeup. Sitting 83-85 mph, it gets good fade and depth to it, and the mirror image of his fastball delivery-wise, he gets a ton of swing and misses with it. He flashes a slider in the mid-80s with plus potential that is just a tick below because it's not yet the consistent pitch he can locate for strikes in the zone as needed. It's getting real close though. He rounds out his rather deep repertoire with a curveball in the 78-82 mph range that also gets good movement but he can't command it well enough to throw it for strikes consistently.

Pitching. While power is the name of his game what brings it all together is his incredibly quick tempo pace on the mound. He never allows batters to get too comfortable at the plate, often times releasing the next pitch as soon as he receives the throwback from the catcher. While his command can be spotty, it's not from trying to nibble on the corners. He doesn't want to walk batters and goes right after them as a result. He's a very good athlete too, one who can field his position well and it also allows him to be quite refined repeating his mechanics for such an inexperienced pitcher.

Projection. Stilson is an intriguing prospect because of his deep arsenal, natural strength, and power approach. He has the necessary foundation in place to develop into quite the starting pitcher. A little Brandon Morrow-like in that regard, he also offers the organization a nice floor as a potential setup man or closer given his possession of two plus pitches and attacking style on the mound. He'll need his curveball to become a more consistent pitch to develop into that kind of high-ceiling starting pitcher most scouts believe he could be because it's really the only pitch that gives him a real change of pace velocity-wise, a weapon needed to get through a big league order more than twice.

ETA. 2014. Stilson could move incredibly quick if the Blue Jays opt to keep him in the bullpen. He has the kind of game to jump right into the Florida State League to begin his career in either role, but how quick he advances from that point will depend if he's starting or relieving.


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: John Stilson
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: July 28, 1990
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 200
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nHe has yet to make his official professional debut, limited thus far to Instructional League and Spring Training camps, but he earned the reputation as a control power pitcher during his years at Texas A&M University.
\r\n
\r\n\"Stilson pitches like his hair is on fire,\" Blue Jays scouting director Andrew Tinnish told FutureJays.com upon his selection. \"He's in attack mode all of the time.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's an extremely aggressive, up-tempo delivery in style. He's got a plus changeup. He'll flash you a plus breaking ball. Obviously the fastball has been up to 97 [mph], pitching in that 94-95 mph range.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's extremely aggressive, one of those types of guys who can't sit still, but like that, that good fiery aggressive makeup with kind of an intense/effort/aggressive delivery with stuff.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's rare to find that kind of power pitcher with advanced secondary pitches who also boast the kind of control he has. He walked less than three batters per nine innings over his final two years of school.
\r\n
\r\nIt's that combination of no-nonsense approach and plus stuff that can completely take over an at-bat, and Stilson himself knows what his goal is on the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I get everything going, I try to overwhelm the hitter,\" Stilson said.
\r\n
\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Slider, Curveball.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Stilson is power pitcher in every sense of the term. He attacks batters with four-seam fastballs ranging anywhere from 92-97 mph consistently on a given day, and he reportedly threw as high as 99 mph during his college days. While he doesn't have the greatest command of his fastball, he does have enough control over it to work himself back into counts and he's got the kind of quick delivery and deceptive speed to overpower batters.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. What makes Stilson's fastball even more effective, as if it needed to be, is the possession of a plus big league power changeup. Sitting 83-85 mph, it gets good fade and depth to it, and the mirror image of his fastball delivery-wise, he gets a ton of swing and misses with it. He flashes a slider in the mid-80s with plus potential that is just a tick below because it's not yet the consistent pitch he can locate for strikes in the zone as needed. It's getting real close though. He rounds out his rather deep repertoire with a curveball in the 78-82 mph range that also gets good movement but he can't command it well enough to throw it for strikes consistently.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. While power is the name of his game what brings it all together is his incredibly quick tempo pace on the mound. He never allows batters to get too comfortable at the plate, often times releasing the next pitch as soon as he receives the throwback from the catcher. While his command can be spotty, it's not from trying to nibble on the corners. He doesn't want to walk batters and goes right after them as a result. He's a very good athlete too, one who can field his position well and it also allows him to be quite refined repeating his mechanics for such an inexperienced pitcher.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Stilson is an intriguing prospect because of his deep arsenal, natural strength, and power approach. He has the necessary foundation in place to develop into quite the starting pitcher. A little Brandon Morrow-like in that regard, he also offers the organization a nice floor as a potential setup man or closer given his possession of two plus pitches and attacking style on the mound. He'll need his curveball to become a more consistent pitch to develop into that kind of high-ceiling starting pitcher most scouts believe he could be because it's really the only pitch that gives him a real change of pace velocity-wise, a weapon needed to get through a big league order more than twice.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2014. Stilson could move incredibly quick if the Blue Jays opt to keep him in the bullpen. He has the kind of game to jump right into the Florida State League to begin his career in either role, but how quick he advances from that point will depend if he's starting or relieving.
\r\n
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