Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Dodgers Pick Right-Hander JT Ginn in the First Round - Welcome to the Blue!

Yesterday, dreams were fulfilled when both high school and college aged kids got selected to begin a pro career. For the Dodgers, picking 30th overall in this years draft, they decided to dip into those high school prep waters and selected a high-heat 19-year-old right-hander by the name of JT Ginn. The kid stands over six feet tall and throws a baseball faster than just about any other amateur in the game today. He is also on twitter: @JT_Ginn3. Per a Dodgers press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today selected right-handed pitcher J.T. Ginn with their first pick (30th overall) in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Brandon High School (MS).
This season, he appeared in eight games (seven starts), going 5-1 with a 0.36 ERA (2 ER/39.1 IP) and striking out 78 batters against just nine walks, while holding the opposition to a .073 average. In seven starts, he fired three complete games and two shutouts including a no-hitter. Ginn, who was also a two-way player, batted .419 (31-for-74) with six doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 27 RBI for Brandon High School this year. Following the 2018 campaign, he was voted the Gatorade Player of the Year out of Mississippi. 
“We were very excited to be able to select J.T.,” said Dodger Director, Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino. “He is a pitcher that we identified last summer and is an extremely athletic right-hander with plus life to his fastball, has a plus slider and a developing changeup. We think he has all the ingredients to be a front-line starter and we are super excited about the progress he made this spring. Hopefully he can continue that with the Dodger organization.” 
In his last three years of high school, the 6-2, 200-pound right-handed pitcher combined for a 15-2 record with a 1.02 ERA (16 ER/110.0 IP) and threw three complete games. The 19-year-old also batted .415 (112-for-270) with 28 home runs, 22 doubles, three triples and 120 RBI in four seasons for the Bulldogs and finished second nationally among high school players with 16 home runs in 2017. 
This marks the first time the Dodgers have selected a pitcher with their first overall pick since 2015, when they selected right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler out of Vanderbilt University (24th overall). Los Angeles has drafted a pitcher with their first overall selection of the draft in seven of the last 10 picks. 
Ginn was scouted by Dodger area scout Benny Latino.
Gasparino added further:
“We have seen Ginn over the course of last year with a premium velocity that goes with a lot of movement,” said Dodger Director, Amateur Scouting Billy Gasparino. “We think he has one of the best fastball qualities in the draft and he also has a power breaking ball that he can throw for strikes. The stuff has always been there, but we have seen him develop a better delivery as the spring went along. We believe that he is a potential starter and can be one of those power, six-foot righties that really has premium stuff.”
I want so badly to believe we've found our Drysdale to go along with our new Koufax in Buehler. BTW, it should be notable that he has been awarded the 2018 Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year and the Clarion-Ledger Sports Awards male athlete of the year.

Below are more links worth check out:
Despite the senior’s success at the plate, the 88.8 average in the classroom and the awarded scholarship to play at Mississippi State University, the third criteria in the Gatorade award is “exemplary character”. Ginn has donated his time working with youth baseball teams and volunteering with organizations such as the Salvation Army. The Gatorade Player of the Year winner must exemplify a commitment to character, sportsmanship, and community involvement.
Despite his offensive exploits, Ginn’s future lies on the mound and he offers one of the best two-pitch mixes in the draft class. His fastball sits 92-99 mph and runs back in on right-handed hitters, and his slider is a wipeout mid-80s offering. 
Ultimately, Ginn may be a better fit in the bullpen than the rotation. He doesn't have the build of a starter — standing only 6'1" — and his dominant stuff plays down at times when his ability to hit the zone falters. However, the profile has been proven to work as a starter, and there is a chance he sticks in that capacity as well. His ultimate ceiling will depend on how well he refines his ability to locate his pitches and the development of his changeup.
Ginn has a monster fastball-slider combination. He can run his fastball up into the high-90’s already with a lot of life. His slider is more erratic, but when he has the handle on it, the pitch is a plus offering with sharp late bite. Even if Ginn is held back by a lagging changeup, and his still developing control, there’s a future relief profile here just based on explosive stuff alone. If Ginn can continue to develop his command, and refine a third offering, his potential is very high as a starter.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
While Ginn finished second nationally among high schoolers with 16 homers last year -- only Angels first-rounder Jo Adell had more -- teams covet his right arm more than his bat. He has one of the best power arsenals in the high school ranks and a history of dominating on the showcase circuit and with Team USA. He has the stuff to go in the first round, though quibbles about his size and delivery may knock him down to the second. 
Ginn had the highest fastball velocity at USA Baseball's Tournament of Stars last summer at 94.6 mph, sat at 95-97 mph at the Under Armour All-America Game and has reached 99 mph this spring. His heater has late life and he can command it to both sides of the plate. If hitters try to sit on his fastball, they can look silly because he also has a wipeout slider in the mid-80s. 
Ginn also shows feel for a changeup with some running action, so he has enough pitches to start. His listed height of 6-foot-2 may be charitable and he works with considerable effort, leading to questions about whether his future may be in the bullpen, though his athleticism helps him repeat his delivery and throw strikes. He's old for his Draft class and will be eligible as a 21-year-old sophomore in 2020 should he attend Mississippi State.
What he’s good at right now: Ginn has elite arm strength, reportedly touching triple digits while also showing plus riding life. He will also flash a hard downer breaking ball that looks like a spike curve.
In honor of Ginn's selection by the Dodgers I made the above two fantasy Baseball cards of him.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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