Previously a Los Angeles Dodgers first-round draft pick, JT Ginn was expected to be a first-round pick again this year. The athletic six-foot, two-inch tall, 192-pound sophomore only pitched three innings in 2020. While it was an abbreviated season for all of the NCAA, Ginn’s was even shorter due to a need for Tommy John surgery.
After the Dodgers could not meet his asking price in 2018, Ginn left for Mississippi State University. He won SEC Freshman of the Year in 2019 in a year that ended with him firing six shutout innings in the College World Series. Despite the injury, the draft eligible sophomore still ranks as the 44th-best prospect on the board, according to MLB.com.
Ginn showed an ability to control the strike zone in his lone full collegiate year. In 86.1 innings pitched, he posted a K/BB ratio of 5.53. He also kept runners off base, with a 1.054 WHIP, leading to a 3.13 ERA.
JT Ginn throws two plus pitches. Scouts grade both his fastball and his slider as 60/80. Scouts consider his fastball to have some of the best life in the draft. It has run and sink to it at times while sitting anywhere from 91-95 MPH, topping out at 97 MPH. The slider has depth and its movement is two planes. The wipeout breaking ball has mid-80s velocity and can be just as hard to hit as the fastball.
Ginn’s third pitch is a changeup that shows potential as another plus pitch for his repertoire. He gets good downward action on it. Despite the movement he gets on his pitches, he is able to control and command them all quite well. His 2.0 BB/9 in 2019 can be classified as a great rate.
Also worth noting is Ginn’s ability to adapt and adjust. There were concerns that he may be a reliever long term, but he has refined his delivery since high school, lessening those concerns.
The clear downside to Ginn at this moment is his health. Because of the surgery, he will be out until next season, and there is no telling how long it will take him to return to his freshman year form once healthy. This injury will set will set his development back.
Aside from the surgery, he also dealt with arm soreness in the latter half of 2019. Unfortunately, he does not come with the cleanest bill of health.
It is also possible that Ginn could pass on the team that drafts him with the hope of reestablishing his draft stock in 2021. The signability issues are made more complex when realizing that while he is a sophomore, he is a 21-year old one. The age, injury, and potential signability are all issues that general managers will have to keep in mind when evaluating Ginn.
If JT Ginn can reestablish his health, he could develop into a pitcher similar to what Shane Bieber is for the Cleveland Indians. Although Bieber throws a curveball rather than a changeup as his third most used pitch, both men have similar builds and primarily utilize a fastball/slider combination. Bieber’s average fastball velocity is 93.1 MPH and his slider is 85.0 MPH, both of which are in similar ranges to Ginn.
Additionally, Bieber has excellent control and command of his pitches, similar to Ginn. In 329 career innings pitched, Bieber has a 1.7 BB/9 and a 5.98 K/BB ratio. The numbers Ginn posted in his freshman year are not too far off from Bieber.
Given the stuff on his pitches and history as a first-round pick, it is clear that JT Ginn has potential. However, general managers will need to weigh that potential with his injury history when deciding whether to draft him in 2020.
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