At the beginning of this spring, the hope was that Sean Manaea and Ryne Stanek were going to take steps forward and challenge Mark Appel for the first overall selection. On the pitching side, that has happened and it's Jonathan Gray who is doing that. Sean Manaea has taken a step back and it looked like Stanek had done the same early on.
However, he recovered from his early season struggles of short outings and control issues to put together a good season. The walks are too high and the strikeouts are not high enough. He has some work to do with his mechanics, but he's a good prospect with middle to top of the rotation upside. A concern however is that he's just a handful of days younger than Mark Appel, so he's an old junior and he just barely missed the cutoff to have been a draft-eligible sophomore last season.
He isn't completely balanced throughout his delivery, especially late, and falls off toward the first base side. Cleaning that up could really help him be more consistent with his control and the quality of his stuff. His arm slot has some variation to it and also contributes to his problems. As his arm slot varies, his elbow can also drift a little too high in his windup and leads to some timing issues because his arm is dragging too far behind his body. That puts some strain on his shoulder and elbow. This has improved but will will happen when he's reaching back for a little something extra. He's athletic and controls his body well for the most part, I am confident that the mechanics can improve but won't ever be mechanics to brag about.
The stuff starts with his fastball that can get into the mid-90's and touch 97. There's some arm-side run and sink to it as well that make it a potential plus fastball. He's one of the few top prospects that will spin two breaking balls with a slider and curve. The slider is the better of the two and shows more potential to be an above-average or even plus pitch. The curve projects to be average and he throws a changeup that he has a good feel for it but is also the most inconsistent. As his mechanics improve, the stuff will be more effective than his college numbers lead you to believe. He has some of the best raw stuff in this draft class.
Without better control and continued improvement in his mechanics, it's possible that he flames out as a starter and has to move to the bullpen. Even then, there's no telling how bad his control/command will appear with the patient professional hitters. Despite his impressive raw stuff, he's not a lock as a late-inning reliever as his floor.
When you have one of the strongest arms in the draft class and the feel for four pitches, you have some high upside. Top of the rotation type upside. There's a lot of things that need to break right in his mechanics and consistency for that to happen, but it is an upside you can dream on.
Projected Draft Round
He's a first round talent and will be drafted as such. His projection fell into the second half earlier in the season but as he's gotten back into the groove, his stock is back up. I think he'll go top 10 but could fall into the top 15.
Will he sign?
I would hope so. He's an old junior which may hurt him, and it won't help him at all next year as an older senior. He could raise his stock next year by showing better control which would give him a much better season and give the teams more confidence that he could stick as a starter or reach his ceiling. But, they won't pay him as much next year as a senior who is on the old side.
Stanek missed being a Draft-eligible sophomore by days in 2012 but now profiles as one of the top college arms in the 2013 Draft class, one who was coming on strong after a bit of a slow start to his junior season.
He has as much arm strength as anyone, throwing a plus fastball in the mid-90s while maintaining velocity throughout his starts. His fastball has good sink and run to it as well. He'll show two breaking balls, a curve and a slider, with the latter having a chance to be a plus pitch.
Stanek goes right after hitters, though he needs to improve his overall command. That, along with some concern over effort to his delivery, have left some wondering if he's a reliever in the future. But there's no question his power arm will have him high on Draft boards in June.
His fastball is usually in the 92-94 range but I’ve seen it as low as 91 and up to 96. He gets very good movement on his fastball. It isn’t a dominant pitch but it is a very good fastball he can work off of to set up his other offerings. His breaking ball looked more like a curve in the past and wasn’t as good as the more recent slider he has been using. His arm slot is a ¾ delivery and the slider can be a plus pitch. It usually is in the 84-87 MPH range. His change is also in the 85-87 MPH range and has some fade. It is an average offering and it could improve. He has good command and incredible poise on the mound.