- Full name Matthew Steven Stites
- Born 05/28/1990 in Festus, MO
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Missouri
- Debut 06/19/2014
Drafted in the 17th round (533rd overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2011.
View Draft ReportIt's easy to underestimate Stites because of his size, generously listed at 6 feet and 181 pounds, but he keeps proving himself. He was the ace at Jefferson (Mo.) CC for two years, held his own in the Cape Cod League last summer and has been Missouri's most effective starter in his first season with the Tigers. Stites succeeds with quality stuff, using his quick-twitch athleticism and fast arm to consistently pitch at 90-93 mph and peak at 95. His size does cost him some plane on his fastball, which can get straight and sit up in the zone, but he pitches off it well. His slider gives him a reliable second pitch, and he mixes in a curveball and changeup. Stites competes well and has a resilient arm, which along with his size and fastball/slider combo probably will lead to a pro career as a reliever. He turned down the Cubs as a 33rd-round pick last year.
Organization Prospect Rankings
First drafted by the Cubs in 2010 after pitching at Jefferson (Mo.) CC, Stites didn't sign and instead moved on to Missouri for his junior year. The Padres took Stites in the 17th round in 2011 and immediately moved him to a bullpen role. He opened 2013 as the closer at Double-A San Antonio before landing on the disabled list with an appendectomy. While he was laid up, the Padres traded him to the Diamondbacks in the Ian Kennedy deal. Stites is short and athletic, with a quick arm. He works with a fastball from 94-98 mph that gets on hitters quickly, as well as an effective slider. He throws his breaking ball with power, reaching 87 mph, and at times it has late, sharp action. He uses his lower half well, which gives him the plus velocity despite a smaller frame. Stites' changeup is a work in progress that he hopes to use against lefthanded batters. His best attribute is his strike-throwing ability, and he has the system's best control. Stites got back on the mound during instructional league and then spent six weeks in the Arizona Fall League, where he knocked off the rust and finished with nine scoreless outings, the last seven with no walks. The Diamondbacks will give Stites a chance to compete for a bullpen spot in spring training. He'll probably begin the year at Triple-A Reno, with a good chance for big league time before the year is out.
The Cubs overlooked Stites' short stature when they took the Jefferson (Mo.) CC ace in the 33rd round of the 2010 draft, but the two sides couldn't agree to terms after he fanned a batter per inning in the Cape Cod League. He headed to Missouri, where he served as the Tigers' No. 1 starter, and went to the Padres in the 17th round in 2011. Stites signed quickly and shifted to the bullpen, a role for which he seems well suited given his quick-twitch athleticism, two plus pitches and feel for the strike zone. He opened 2012 as the closer for Fort Wayne, a role that mitigates concerns about his stamina (he made two trips to the disabled list) and a lack of plane on his fastball. He incorporates his lower half into his delivery, throwing 92-96 mph heat without a lot of effort. His slider shows sharp tilting action and plus potential, and he owns a fringe changeup and curveball from his starter days. Stites' fearless approach leads scouts to confidently project him as a big league reliever, and some like him as a late-rotation starter given his control. He struck out 60 and walked three as closer for the TinCaps. San Diego sent him to the Arizona Fall League, a rare step for a second-year player in low Class A, which suggests that he could move quickly to Double-A in 2013.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014