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