Jonathan Stiever Shoots Up Prospect Ranks
The 2019 season was a painful one for White Sox starting pitching prospects.
Dylan Cease managed to make it to the the big league rotation in early July, but Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert all were in various stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery.
But for one 22-year-old prospect, the year wasn't a total loss.
"It's been a pretty big jump for me,” Jonathan Stiever said.
Stiever, a 2018 fifth-rounder from Indiana, pitched in the Rookie-level Pioneer League after signing and recorded a 4.18 ERA in 13 starts.
"After that first year, it was kind of hard to figure out what sort of plan I should go with,” Stiever said. "Now, I have a year under my belt and I was able to finish off last season with some decent success and carry over some confidence into this offseason.”
Stiever, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound righthander, opened the 2019 season at low Class A Kannapolis and moved up to high Class A Winston-Salem midway through the year. He shot up the prospect charts at Winston-Salem, going 6-4, 2.15 with 13 walks and 77 strikeouts in 71 innings.
"I'm always going to be a command type of pitcher,” Stiever said. "I'm big on getting ahead, throwing strikes and filling up the zone as much as I can.”
Stiever's top two pitches are a four-seam fastball that sits in the mid 90s and a curveball.
"I figured that combination out a little bit,” Stiever said. "Now I'm focusing on working in my slider and changeup, whereas last year I didn't really know I was that kind of pitcher.”
A football star and basketball player when he was at Cedarburg (Wis.) High, Stiever didn't give baseball his full attention until his junior year. Now, he's a rising star in the White Sox system with an invitation to big league camp.
"It's exciting to get to experience big league camp and learn from a lot of the older guys—what they do well, how they attack hitters,” Stiever said. "Just try to be a sponge and absorb as much as you can.”