RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
| Born: June 1, 1990
Height: 6′ 6″
Drafted: 7th Round, 205th Overall, 2009
How Acquired: Draft
High School: Brophy College Prep (Phoenix, AZ)
Agent: Gaylord Sports
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Stevenson was one of the Pirates’ numerous above-slot signings in 2009. He wasn’t not a polished HS hurler; instead, he was all about projection. His performance as a senior was erratic due to inconsistent command and mechanics. According to Baseball America, which rated him the #197 overall draft prospect, he threw 88-91, but had reached 93 in the past. He was, and still is, very thin and hasn’t matured physically, so scouts obviously were expecting to see more velocity as he gets stronger. He had a commitment to the University of Arizona that figured to be difficult to sway him from, but the Pirates got him signed in late July.
Got to the GCL in time to take a regular turn for the last three weeks the of season. He pitched well, walking nobody but not striking out many.
Stevenson was recovering from some sort of injury when the short season leagues opened play, but was ready to pitch soon after. He made one appearance in GCL, then went to State College and pitched in relief in the Pirates’ piggybacking system, mainly in two- to three-inning stints. His performance was just fair and he still didn’t fan many hitters. His control wasn’t bad and he allowed just two HRs.
Stevenson opened the season at West Virginia, but things didn’t go well. His stuff hasn’t shown any improvement, as he’s only throwing in the upper 80s and doesn’t seem to have the movement or offspeed stuff to keep hitters from making solid contact. He got hit hard, including a lot of gopher balls (nearly one every five innings), and was sent down to State College at the end of July. He stayed in the Spikes’ rotation the rest of the year, but showed no improvement. Between the two levels he had an ERA of 6.46 and opponents’ average of .329. He fanned only 3.9 per nine innings. The one positive was that he walked only 1.7 per nine, but pitchers who are very easy to hit often don’t walk many batters.
Stevenson figured to be a long-range project at the time he was drafted, but he’s not headed in the right direction. He’ll still be just 21 when the 2012 season opens, so it’s too early to write him off. The key will be whether he gets stronger and his stuff starts to improve. As of spring 2012, he still was topping out at about 89. The Pirates will try him again at West Virginia, in the bullpen.