With the 11th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, Mississippi State’s J.T. Ginn could be the steal of the first round for the Chicago White Sox.
The Chicago White Sox are loaded with positional prospects, and they had perhaps the busiest offseason of any team in baseball. Both Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez were welcome additions to a rotation that finished with a combined 5.30 ERA in 2019. However, both guys are in the latter stages of their careers, and while Michael Kopech is expected to return this year, general manager Rick Hahn should consider adding more pitching talent.
J.T. Ginn had all the makings of a top-five pick in June’s draft. Named the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year in high school, the Dodgers drafted him 30th overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. However, the two sides failed to reach an agreement, and Ginn went onto play collegiate baseball.
He lived up to the hype as a true freshman, posting a 3.13 ERA in 17 starts while striking out 105 batters in 86.1 innings. Ginn also limited opponents to a .220 average.
He began his collegiate career, striking out at least six batters in his first seven starts. And to no one’s surprise, he was named the National Freshman of the Year as well as SEC Freshman of the Year.
As a sophomore, big things were expected for the draft-eligible sophomore but after just three innings into his first start, he was pulled with “arm soreness”. We later found out that he needed Tommy John Surgery.
Ginn has, understandably so, slipped in some draft boards, but Baseball America ranks him as the 23rd best prospect in this class. He stands at 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, and given the success rate of Tommy John surgery these days; he would be worth the risk with the 11th overall pick.
In terms of his pitch arsenal, Ginn’s fastball touched 99 MPH before the injury, and scouts raved about his “wipeout slider.” He’s experienced so much success because his pitches dance all over the strike zone. Injury aside, Ginn could still be difficult to sign even at the 11th overall pick.
He may opt to return to school to have another year to develop his pitches, but assuming the two sides can strike a deal, he can do the same in the White Sox farm system.