PP 2004 Scouting Report: RP, Jason Stephens

The New York Yankees selected right handed pitcher Jason Stephens in the 6th round (184th overall) of the 2003 amateur draft. Stephens made the giant leap right from high school when he was drafted by the Yankees rather than attending college at Georgia Tech. He also would receive a whopping signing bonus from the Yankees that stood at $500,000 and therefore proving that the Yankees were expecting big things from their new 19 year old right-hander.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Jason Stephens
Position: Pitcher
DOB: October 10, 1984
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Tallmadge, Ohio
How Acquired: The New York Yankees selected right handed pitcher Jason Stephens in the 6th round (184th overall) of the 2003 amateur draft.

Over his entire high entire high school career at Tallmadge, Jason Stephens could not have pitched much better than he did. In his career there, he compiled an overall record of 26-2 which is an amazing statistic by any standards of the game. One official was even quoted as saying "Jason Stephens is probably the best player in Ohio." It was clear that Jason Stephens heavily overmatched most other high school players and scouts were able to easily point it out.

After Stephens graduated high school, he was lined up for a scholarship at Georgia Tech but on the other hand, scouts were predicting that he would get selected in the first three rounds of the 2003 amateur draft. Stephens thought that his scholarship would work to his advantage by using it to get more money from major league teams. However, in a way it ended up hurting the chances of what should have been a much higher draft selection than he actually got.

Stephens ended up being selected in the 6th round by the New York Yankees. This, for the most part, was as a result of the fact that many clubs did not want to waste a selection on Stephens because of his looming scholarship that he could have very easily accepted to Georgia Tech. To the great pleasure of the New York Yankees, Stephens turned down the scholarship to Georgia Tech and decided to make the jump right to the minors.

Following the draft and once he was under contract, Jason Stephens was assigned to the Gulf Coast league Yankees to play the 2003 season. At the age of only 19 years old, Stephens began the season as a relief pitcher for the Gulf Coast Yankees; a role he hadn't see that much of in his days in high school ball. However, the Yankees saw a lot of maturity in him and believed that he could easily handle the switch.

Jason Stephens did not have a great year in his first full campaign in the Yankee organization but also wasn't terrible either. He went 0-2 as a reliever with a 4.55 ERA over 31.2 innings pitched along with 25 strikeouts. Many scouts and coaches did not worry about Stephens' less than spectacular performance in his first season and are confident that he will be much better in 2004. It is understood that it is difficult to completely convert a starting pitcher to a reliever at only 19 years old, but many believe that he will eventually adjust to the switch incredibly well.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2003

GCL Yankees

0-2

1

31.2

42

9

25

4.55


*Stats as of 9/7/03

Repertoire. Fastball, Forkball.

Fastball. Jason Stephens doesn't have a tremendously overpowering fastball by any means, but he does have a fastball that usually ranges in the 91-93 mile per hour range. The ball explodes out of his hand surprises hitters with his easy arm speed. He locates his fastball well and has fairly good command of it as well.

Other Pitches. Besides an excellent moving fastball, Jason Stephens also possesses a wicked forkball that drops of the table for hitters. He uses it as an excellent strikeout pitch after he sets it up very well with good location with his fastball. Has a plan on the mound on how to set hitters up with his out pitch.

Pitching. Stephens is a pitcher with amazing maturity for his young age and it has been said that this is what impressed scouts about him. he has a plan on the mound and knows how to locate his pitches. Shows that he has an idea on how to go after each hitter he faces and is incredibly intelligent on the mound. he is decent strikeout pitcher but relies slightly more on location.

Projection. It seems more than likely that Stephens is destined to become a setup reliever or even possibly a closer later on in his career. He needs to refine his delivery a little more in order to remain an effective pitcher and move up the organizational ladder.

ETA. N/A.

Relief Pitchers

2003 Team

Scott Proctor

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Sam Marsonek

AAA - Columbus Clippers

David Shepard

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Adam Roller AA - Trenton Thunder
Rik Currier AA - Trenton Thunder
Charlies Isaacson AA - Trenton Thunder
Francisco Villegas AA - Trenton Thunder
Matt Brumit A - Battle Creek Yankees
Jason Stephens R - Gulf Coast Yankees
Tyler Clippard R - Gulf Coast Yankees


COMMENTS


As of right now, it seems that the Yankee organization is much more interested in instant satisfaction especially when it comes to their bullpen in which they have spent top dollar to improve upon this past winter. Rather than try to develop the next Mariano Rivera, (the only Yankee reliever that came from the farm system) they have consistently gone out and have benefited from the free agent, trade and foreign markets. However, with older and more fragile pitchers in the pen, the Yankees may be looking for their young guns in the farm system to step up and play major roles in the next few years.

1. Scott Proctor- Had an impressive minor league career in the Dodger organization and didn't miss a beat after he was acquired by the Yankees. He possesses a 100 mile per hour fastball and has tremendous strikeout potential as he proved in his 2003 stats. In his time with Columbus in 2003, Proctor posted a 1.42 and struck out an incredible 26 batters in only 19 IP (just with Yankees). Has electric stuff and could be a very good big league reliever in the near future.

2. Sam Marsonek- Marsonek took over the full time closers job in Columbus last year and did an adequate job by racking up a total of 18 saves and posting a 4.84 ERA. He struggled at some points with control and consistency but certainly has a lot of potential.

3. David Shepard- It may be getting a little late for David Shepard, considering the fact that is already 30 years old and 2003 was his first good season in the Yankee organization. However, don't give up on him quite yet, he could still be an effective reliever in the majors if he continues to pitch well in the minors.

4. Adam Roller- The 25 year old righty has collected 47 minor league saves in his 7 seasons in the minor leagues. In his best season in 2001, he compiled 23 saves while posting a 1.20 ERA. He may be sleeper in the organization and could be a guy to watch in the very near future.

5. Rik Currier- Since his college years, the Yankee organization has more or less converted him to a full time reliever. He has a deep repertoire for a reliever which also adds to his effectiveness. In college he was #2 in the USC rotation to star Cubs pitcher Mark Prior and at the time scouts considered that his skills were comparable to Prior's. Their paths ended up being very different but there is no doubt that Currier certainly has all the potential in the world.

6. Charlie Isaacson- Has shown himself to be a very solid and consistent relief pitcher at a every level that he has pitched on, which includes pitching in Battle Creek, Tampa, and Trenton all in the same season. He may have a very nice future ahead of him as a major league pitcher if all continues as it has been in his career.

7. Francisco Villegas- he is a very good strikeout pitcher that has pitched as a setup man throughout his minor league career. Despite this, scouts believe that he could also make a very solid closer with the excellent fastball that he has.

8. Matt Brumit- Brumit has become the full time closer at every level he has played at in the organization and has done a fantastic job at it. In his 2 seasons in the organization he has compiled an outstanding total of 46 saves.

9. Jason Stephens- Had a rough go of it in his first year n the organization, posting a 4.55 ERA and going 0-2. On the other hand, he is still thought of as one of the top relief pitching prospects in the organization.

10. Tyler Clippard- Was the Yankees 9th round pick in the 2003 Draft. He had a very solid season in the Gulf Coast, compiling an impressive 2.89 ERA with an outstanding 56 strikeouts in only 43.2 IP while only walking 5. Clippard thrived as a relief pitcher and impressed many, but despite his endless potential he still needs a lot of work before he is a major league ready.

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