Texas A&M righthander John Stilson projected as a likely first-round pick before learning last week that he has a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. Initially doctors thought he would need shoulder surgery, but he since has received a second opinion that's more optimistic.
While he won't be able to help the Aggies in the NCAA playoffs and won't go in the first round, Stilson may be able to avoid surgery. His mother sent an e-mail to Texas area scouts that included a letter from noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews. Andrews wrote that he had examined Stilson and believes surgery may be avoided and a six-week rehab program will return him to health.
Stilson's positioning in the draft is still a huge question mark, but at least now there's a chance the team that selects him will have a chance to evaluate him on the mound before the Aug. 15 signing deadline.
Stilson ranked No. 23 on Baseball America's Top 200 Prospects list before the injury. After spending his freshman season at Texarkana (Texas) JC in 2009, he led NCAA Division I in ERA (0.80) as a reliever in his first season with the Aggies. He moved into the rotation this spring and went 5-2, 1.68 with 92 strikeouts in 91 innings. When healthy, he threw a 91-94 mph fastball, a dynamic changeup and a hard breaking ball.
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