One piece of news that’s bound to shake up the draft is the announcement that Mississippi State RHP J.T. Ginn will need Tommy John surgery. Ginn was previously a first round pick out of high school by the Dodgers, but did not sign and went on to pitch for Mississippi State instead. As a freshman Ginn pitched extremely well to a 3.13 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 86 innings, winning SEC Conference Freshman of the Year of honors. With a healthy season, he would have catapulted himself into the Top 10 of the 2020 draft as an eligible sophomore.
Unfortunately for Ginn, he experienced elbow pain 3 innings into his first start and was on the shelf for two weeks before ultimately deciding to undergo Tommy John surgery to fix the elbow. That will likely cause him to slip out of the Top 10, but the question is how far will he slides. The Diamondbacks don’t pick until 18th overall and teams have been more receptive to prospects who underwent the surgery in their draft year in recent history. Jeff Hoffman, Erick Fedde, and Clarke Schmidt didn’t drop very far in the draft, going at 9th, 14th, and 16th overall despite having the surgery in their respective draft years.
Ginn offers the potential for a pair of 70 grade pitches according to Baseball America (fastball and slider), so he has a reasonable floor of being a high-leverage reliever in the back-end of the pen but also the ceiling of a top of the rotation pitcher. Given how expensive it is to land a top of the rotation arm in the draft and free agency, the Diamondbacks should absolutely pounce on Ginn if he slides to 18. The combination of two elite pitches, excellent command and control, and ability to fly up the system made Ginn a very attractive pitcher in the draft and if the stars can align for the D-backs to land him at 18, could really boost the team’s farm system on the pitching side. Signing Ginn out of potentially three more years of college eligibility could be problematic, but middle of the 1st round money could entice him otherwise.