Looking at Graham Stoneburner

Graham Stoneburner, Right-handeed Starting Pitcher
Ranked Sixth Best Yankee Prospect

Year Age Tm Lg Lev ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 21 Staten Island NYPL A- 0.00 1 0 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1.000 9.0 0.0 0.0 18.0
2010 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-A 2.41 26 26 142.0 107 46 38 6 34 137 0.993 6.8 0.4 2.2 8.7 4.03
2010 22 Charleston SALL A 2.08 7 7 39.0 27 11 9 2 10 44 0.949 6.2 0.5 2.3 10.2 4.40
2010 22 Tampa FLOR A+ 2.53 19 19 103.0 80 35 29 4 24 93 1.010 7.0 0.3 2.1 8.1 3.88
2 Seasons 2.39 27 26 143.0 108 46 38 6 34 139 0.993 6.8 0.4 2.1 8.7 4.09
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2010.

Graham Stoneburner is a much better prospect than people realize. He throws a 93-96 mph 2-seam fastball with strong sinking action. Better yet, he throws smoothly and easily, a great sign for his future consistency and health. Seriously, watch the video. He has recently improved his slider, and its now an effective secondary pitch for him. He also throws a changeup. He has great control. The biggest question for Stoneburner after he was drafted was whether or not he would develop enough of a breaking ball to start. He accomplished that in 2010, and he looks like a starter long term.

Stoneburner had a great 2010 season. In addition to the statistics listed above, he had a 1.72 GO/AO ratio. It is difficult to assess how we should regard his competition relative to his experience level. Stoneburner was 22 years old, but had only 2 years of college experience under his belt, and also didn’t pitch his senior year in high school due to an ACL injury. In college, he did not start full time, although he did pitch for a top-level program at Clemson. I think we can comfortably say that Stoneburner had a lot of polish but not a lot of experience heading into this year. High-A was right around where he should have been, and he dominated the level.

You can’t teach 95. You really can’t teach 95 with sink. That’s Stoneburner. He throws a great fastball for strikes, has a strong breaking pitch, and potentially has even more room for improvement. Furthermore, he has no health concerns, and actually looks like a guy who should stay pretty healthy. I rated him the 6th best prospect in the Yankee system, ahead of Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances, mostly out of health concerns for the latter two. It is something often underrated when looking at young, talented pitchers. Poor health is the #1 killer of a pitching prospect.

Next season, Stoneburner will begin at Double-A. He’ll join a very talented rotation that should include Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances and possibly Adam Warren. He probably will spend the entire season there. All three of them will probably have a higher priority for promotion to Triple-A than Stoneburner, and the Triple-A rotation will already be very crowded. The Yankees have no reason to rush him, no matter how strong his arm is.

Power ground ball guys with control have a ton of potential in the majors. Pick your favorite example – Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Brandon Webb, Chien-Ming Wang – and you won’t find stuff all that different from what Stoneburner throws. And he has the potential to be a solid strikeout pitcher to go with the sinker. That’s something right there. The Yankees found their diamond in the rough.

About EJ Fagan

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

9 thoughts on “Looking at Graham Stoneburner

  1. I’m confused. I see about 14 pitchers that have earned the right to start at either Trenton or Scranton. Ivan Nova might be in the pen in New York, but my guess is that we will see him back in Scranton.

    Phelps and Noesi are already at Scranton and earned the right to start there again. Bleich was injured and had surgery, but should be in the Trenton rotation again.

    Meanwhile, Betances, Brackman, Banuelos, and Warren and Pendleton all pitched last year at Trenton, and should at a minimum be there again, if not in Scranton.

    And finally, Stoneburner, Hall, Heyer, Black and Marshall all pitched well at Tampa and earned the right to a promotion.

    So who is going to end up where? Looks like a serious log jam to me.

  2. One way or the other, I think Trenton and SWB are going to have great rotations. Tampa and Charleston, I’m not so sure about.

  3. Steinbrenner, eerrrr, I meant Stoneburner , not the German translation, IMO figures to have 8th inning type stuff.I think he’ll end up being what we hoped Joba would be.He’ll pick up 2 MPH as a one inning guy but i doubt he’ll end up a closer.Just a very valuable 8th inning type, which for the Yankees is better than a 4th-5th starter type, which the farm system is just loaded with, at every level…

    • Nobody ever “hoped” Joba would become a solid 8th inning guy and there is no way he has more value in a setup role than as a starter even as a good 4 or 5 especially when you consider a hard sinker has the ability to keep the ball in the park in a very homer friendly stadium.

      Besides a lot of times a guy with a hard 2 seamer does better as a starter because they get more sink the more the game goes on.

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