The Yankees continued their trend of the draft so far by selecting a third straight right-handed pitcher in the third round, selecting RHP Trevor Stephan from Arkansas. Stephan is a 6’5”, 225 pound transfer from Hill Junior College that was previously an 18th round pick by the Red Sox.
Although Stephan did not come into the season expected to be the Razorbacks’ Friday night starter, he was able to pitch just as well as their ace, Blaine Knight. Stephan was seen primarily as a reliever because his secondary pitches were not good enough to keep him in the rotation. Whether or not he is able to develop his additional pitches and cut down on his erratic control will be the difference in him making it as a starter or reliever.
Stephan had a 2.87 ERA in 91 innings for Arkansas this season, striking out 11.87 batters per nine innings. He had a 1.98 walks per nine rate as well. It was his first year as a starter, so hopefully those results could be improved upon with some instruction. He ranks 177th in Baseball America’s Top 500, and third in his state.
His fastball sits in the low 90s at 91-93 mph while touching slightly higher. Stephan was able to improve his slider while at Arkansas, turning it into more of a swing-and-miss pitch to add to his arsenal. The problem seems to be that he cannot throw it for a strike at this point, and relies on it causing hitters with poor discipline to chase it out of the zone.
If Stephan can develop his changeup as a reliable third pitch, which it presently isn’t, then it’s possible that he could make his way into a rotation as a professional. Otherwise, he seems pretty solidly ticketed for the bullpen as more of a two-pitch pitcher.