The 2019 season was a painful one for White Sox starting pitching prospects.
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.”