The 2019 MLB Draft is less than a month away and the Mariners are narrowing down their draft board. Today, we take a look at a name who is known to draft aficionado who is falling down draft boards.
The MLB Draft is weird, especially when compared to other drafts. Prospects are on the radar of Mariners area scouts for years before they’re eligible and in baseball, there is a very real phenomenon called “prospect fatigue”.
The term prospect fatigue applies to a prospect who has been on draft radar for so long that their game is nitpicked to the point where scouts focus on flaws more than what a player does that made him so valuable in the first place.
Perhaps the poster child for this phenomenon is right-handed pitcher Carter Stewart. In fact, Stewart was already drafted in top 10 in last years draft by the Atlanta Braves. A wrist injury led the Braves to lowball Stewart who decided to go to college instead.
Stewart went to Eastern Florida State Junior College, which allowed him to re-enter the MLB Draft this season. Since then, Stewart has seen his value steadily decrease and some believe he will fall out of the first round completely.
It isn’t hard to see why Stewart was a Top 10 pick. At 6’6″, 200 lbs, Stewart has both the frame and projectability that scouts love. His fastball sits in the low 90’s and can sit 95-96 mph with some regularity.
Stewart’s claim to fame is his curveball. The pitch is a plus offering and has top end major league spin rate already. His curveball’s spin rate is roughly equivalent to Lance McCullers, who may serve as the best comp for Stewart.
The changeup is a decent third pitch and should give Stewart 3, average or better offerings. He usually throws strikes, but the lanky right-hander still needs to grow into his body and currently has better control than command.
There are some red flags on Stewart but the raw tools show a potential ace if everything breaks right. Stewart offers a high floor too. It would be surprising if Stewart wasn’t at least a #4 starter(barring injuries) and if he can refine his mechanics and improve his command by a full grade, he could win a Cy Young Award or two.
Whether the Mariners are willing to absorb the risk on Stewart, he could be a steal for Dipoto and company in Round 1 or 2. It isn’t typical of Dipoto to take a big risk in round 1, but Stewart’s upside might be too good to ignore.