When it comes to the Major League Baseball draft, every team has a laundry list of past busts and future needs. The old saying that you can never have enough pitching also holds true for good and struggling teams alike. One player that teams will consider to improve their pitching in this year’s draft is right-hander Carter Stewart.
Carter Stewart 2019 MLB Draft Profile
Stewart enters the 2019 draft in a truly rare position. Stewart was drafted eighth overall by the Atlanta Braves in 2018 but failed to sign after concerns arose after his post-draft physical. He is just one year removed from high school but is able to re-enter the 2019 draft after entering Eastern Florida State junior college. His original college commitment had been to Mississippi State.
Now, Stewart returns to the draft and will try to become a first round pick in back-to-back years.
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 200 lbs., Stewart has the type of long, athletic frame that teams love in pitchers. He has a lively fastball that can be ramped up to the high 90s but usually sits in the low-to-mid 90s.
Stewart’s best pitch is by far his curveball which has drawn high ratings and reviews across the board. Pairing his knockout curve with a lively fastball gives him a deadly 1-2 punch out of the gate and is the biggest draw for teams.
The weaknesses associated with Stewart have to do with his mechanics and consistency, though no one seems to doubt his physical makeup and raw stuff. Keith Law with ESPN especially noted earlier this year that Stewart was struggling with delivery issues that led to one particularly lackluster outing. (Article behind a paywall.) That is not to say his issues cannot be fixed or worked out, but it is something teams may be wary of this time around.
In addition to his fastball and curveball, Stewart does throw a changeup but it is not a highly regarded offering. His curveball is by far his best pitch while the changeup will definitely need to improve to work at the MLB level.
As far as his overall health is concerned, there have not been any reported issues with the right wrist injury that scared the Braves away. That could be key for Stewart in this year’s draft. As long as he is healthy, teams may be more apt to work with him on any mechanical issues.
Stewart profiles similarly to Justin Verlander but without Verlander’s high-end velocity and deep repertoire. As mentioned above, Stewart does have a third pitch, but the changeup will need some work to be an effective pitch at the higher levels.
There are likely no concerns about Stewart being drafted again in 2019. The biggest question will be where he goes in the draft. His stock has slid since last summer with various publications having Stewart still on the board in the second round. Once again, Stewart certainly possesses the raw stuff of a first round talent. However, it certainly appears teams have more concerns about him heading into this year’s draft than they did in 2018.
Be sure to read our 2018 draft profile on Carter Stewart.
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