Image credit: Cole Stokes (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Cole Stokes drastically improved his draft stock after an impressive summer circuit in which he showed flashes of his extremely high ceiling. The Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) product carried his success over to the spring, and he worked a 1.68 ERA with 81 strikeouts across 48.2 innings pitched. However, his command was a bit scattered as evident by his 28 walks.
Nonetheless, there was significant draft chatter surrounding Stokes and he had established himself as a potential top four–round pick. While the opportunity was there to begin his professional career, Stokes instead opted to take his talents north to Eugene where he is the headliner of Coach Mark Wasikowski’s recruiting class.
At 6-foot-5 and 215-pounds, Stokes has a pro-like body that oozes upside. In high school, Stokes was also an excellent basketball player and his natural athleticism shows on the mound. He has an easy delivery with a loose, whippy arm stroke and serious arm speed.
Stokes attacks from a three-quarters slot and pitches in the low-90s with his fastball, but it has been clocked as high as 95 mph. It has carrying life and is at its best in the top-half of the strike zone. As he fills out physically, expect Stokes to sit in the mid-to-upper-90s with his fastball.
To supplement his fastball, Stokes features a low-80s slurvey slider that has the potential to be a legitimate out-pitch. He spins it well and it has ample late, horizontal break. It generates the most swing-and-miss of any pitch in his arsenal and currently grades out as plus. Rounding out his pitch mix, Stokes has a mid-80s changeup that he rarely throws. Developing feel for the pitch and improving its overall traits will be key for Stokes.
Where Stokes Fits In
Oregon returns 53-of-63 (84%) of its starts on the mound from 2023 with its only notable departure being righthander Jace Stoffal (8th round, Minnesota Twins). It has one of the deepest pitching staffs in the Pac-12 and has the depth to make a run toward its first College World Series appearance since 1954.
Where Stokes factors in is still to be seen, but he figures to log plenty of innings. With a loud two-pitch mix, Stokes this spring projects to be most effective in a high-leverage relief role. Even if he pitches exclusively out of the bullpen, Stokes is on track to slide into the weekend rotation next year given the projected departures on the pitching staff. Should he add polish to his profile and spend two years in the weekend rotation, Stokes has top-two round upside when he is next draft eligible in 2026.