#19—Jake Stinnett

NorthSiders Report continues its Top 50 Prospects countdown with starting pitcher Jake Stinnett. The Cubs second-round pick last June out of the University of Maryland, Stinnett appeared in five games and then fanned a career-high eight over five innings in a playoff start for Boise.

Name: Jake Stinnett, P
Age: 22 (4/25/1992)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 202 pounds
How acquired: Drafted in 2nd round 2014, #45 overall, out of the University of Maryland. Scouted by Billy Swoope.

2014 Teams
Mesa Cubs, Arizona Rookie League (3 G, 0-1, 7.71 ERA< 4.2 IP, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.93 WHIP);
Boise Hawks, Northwest League, Short-Season (2 G, 0-0, 2.84 ERA, 6.1 IP, 2 BB, 7 K, 0.79 WHIP)

Prior to Cubs
Not much interest in Stinnett out of Buena Vista High School in California as he earned first-team all-league honors and was named an honorable mention Rawlings All-America. He headed to Maryland and started his college career as a third baseman, playing 40 games as a freshman, and then split time between first, outfield and the mound as a sophomore. In his first two years, he only threw 19 innings. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder started his junior season as the team's closer but joined the rotation, making nine starts. He finished 6-5 with a 2.83 ERA, second on the team and 13th in the ACC. The California prep tossed 63.2 innings with 24 BB, 48 K and a team-low .204 BAA. He earned All-ACC Academic honors and was selected in the 29th round of the ’13 draft by the Pirates. After returning for his senior season, Stinnett thrived as the Friday night starter, earning second-team All-ACC honors and helping the Terps to their first-ever NCAA Super Regional appearance. Stinnett led the ACC with four complete games and 112 innings pitched, and became the seventh hurler in program history to throw a no-hitter when he tossed the gem in the first game of a March 1 doubleheader against Massachusetts. The 22-year-old posted a 2.65 ERA and a 7-6 record in 16 games, all but one in a starting role. He struck out a school single-season record and ACC-high 130 batters, good for an average of 10.4 K/9, and walked just 27. He earned ACC player of the week honors four times and capped off his college career with a win over Virginia in the Super Regionals, working six innings.

2014 Season
After signing for $1 million, Stinnett headed to Mesa but his debut was put on hold after getting hit in the groin region during pitcher’s fielding practice and required minor surgery. He lost about 15 pounds due to the surgery and eventually made his debut on Aug. 4 vs. the Giants in the Arizona Rookie League, retiring both hitters he faced. Making his first pro start Aug. 8 for Mesa against the Padres, Stinnett added two more scoreless frames and recorded his first pro strikeout. He got roughed up for four runs on six hits over two innings in his next start and was sent to Boise. He made two starts in the Northwest League, going 2.2 innings his first outing and then working into the 4th in the second. In the playoffs, Stinnett fanned a career-high eight over five innings in a non-decision against Hillsboro. yielding two hits, an unearned run and no walks.

2015 Outlook
Stinnett should start the year in South Bend and Jason McLeod, Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development, gave the South Bend fans a preview of what to expect in a recent interview with SB-Cubs announcer Darin Pritchett. “We love the athlete. We like how the delivery and the arm works. When he’s going right he’s a low- to mid-90s fastball guy with a power slider behind it and like a lot of guys still working on the development of the change-up and really just building more innings under his belt. He’s only been pitching full-time for two years but I think comfortably we see him as a guy that could be a number four but I think the ceiling there is certainly to be a three if not better. He’s been really, really impressive with our staff. He’s kind of the guy, from our pitching coordinator to the pitching coaches, that there’s been a lot of buzz about.”

Look for Stinnett to have his ups and downs as he continues his “mound education” with his first full pro season, and only his third season pitching. Stinnett needs to work on repeating his delivery, developing his change-up, and picking up on all the nuances of being on the mound. You could see Stinnett in Myrtle Beach by summer’s end but the Cubs may want to give him a full season in the MWL to fine tune his craft.

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