For many players, hearing their names called on draft day is a dream come true. JT Ginn has already had that dream come true once—and turned it down. He was drafted by the LA Dodgers with the 30th overall section in the 2018 draft, but opted to attend college instead. That’s pretty impressive for a young prospect: not only being drafted that high, but also having the opportunity to play with one of the league’s most storied and successful franchises. And yet, Ginn decided not to sign with the Dodgers because he wanted to honor his commitment to Mississippi State.
To make such a tough decision at such a young age says a lot about Ginn’s character and the importance he places on keeping his word. It demonstrates how much he values a college education and has the maturity to plan for life beyond baseball. It also shows he has courage and confidence. Now after one year in college, Ginn has had the time and space to refine his skills at the college level and return to the draft as an even stronger candidate. If his first year is any indication, he might just have made the right choice.
As a junior in high school, Ginn’s bat stood out just as much as his pitching, as he batted .482 with 16 home runs. During his senior year, he batted .419 with nine home runs in addition to pitching to a 5-1 record with a 0.36 ERA. Later that year he was named the Mississippi Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. Entering college, Ginn decided to focus more on pitching, and scouts were impressed by his numbers.
In his first year at Mississippi, Ginn went 8-4 with 105 strikeouts, 19 walks, and a 3.13 ERA. His long list of accomplishments include All-USA Baseball Player of the Year and an All-Southeast Perfect Game selection.
JT Ginn, Sinker (with tail). pic.twitter.com/ABEHF4pNuN— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 21, 2019
JT Ginn has a smooth, clean, and consistent delivery with a big overhand arc that starts at his hip before driving straight to the plate. His fastball sits at the 95-97 range, his slider at 86, and his changeup can reach 88. His strikeout and walk percentages in college, 31% and 5%, are very impressive. His slider proves to be challenging for hitters to locate because it drops so late. Hitters will tend to swing over the top of it as it falls off of the plate.
He also tunnels his pitches well, making it even more challenging for the batter to pick up on what he’s throwing.
JT Ginn, mid-90s Back Door Two Seamer & mid-80s Slider off the plate, Overlay.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 16, 2019
[Heard y'all discussing why hitters couldn't lay off his slider out of the zone. @KP_Omaha] pic.twitter.com/dnzcY7enSo
One thing to consider with Ginn is his durability. Taking his size (listed at a very generous 6’2”, likely closer to 6”) into account, it’s hard to predict if he will be able to maintain his command and power late in the game, especially because he’ll be facing tougher competition. He also has struggled with command issues in the past, despite his strong K-BB numbers this year, so perfecting his pitch placement could make him even more of a threat to hitters.
Ginn is currently predicted to go in the 10th or 11th spot in the draft, and would be a great fit for the Mariners. As a starting pitcher, he could fill a gap in the Mariners’ ever-changing starting rotation. He has a very high strikeout percentage and low walk percentage that fit perfectly with the Mariners’ philosophy of controlling the strike zone. This philosophy helps pitchers strive towards getting ahead in the count to be more efficient with their pitches. In addition, his fastball-slider combination has been almost unhittable at Mississippi State, facing high-level competition in the SEC. Improving his change-up and adding another pitch to his arsenal could boost his draft stock and make him a more valuable addition. Ginn is definitely someone to look out for and would be a solid first pick for the Mariners.