The Chicago White Sox looked to the pitching factory which is the state of Texas for their third selection of the 2015 MLB Draft, selecting Jordan Stephens of Rice University.
Stephens was selected in the fifth round, the 142nd overall selection of the draft.
Being a 6-5 and 195 pounds, the right-handed senior pitcher missed a majority of the 2014 season, but this past year he was a starting pitcher by the time the season ended, who had 75 strikeouts and held the opposition to a .229 batting average with his 3.17 ERA in 59.2 innings.
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He also made six relief appearances for the Owls, and for his final collegiate season Stephens averaged 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. His Rice bio also says he pitched 24.2 innings in the collegiate postseason where he had a 2.55 ERA in that span.
"“At the end of the season, Stephens said there was “only a 5 percent chance” he would return to school for his final season … He made three starts in 2014 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.”"
In 231 career innings pitched Stephens struck out 230, where in 2013 he totaled 100 strikeouts in 118.2 innings pitched in 21 games (17 starts).
The good thing about Stephens was he was able to work his way back to being an ace for a program like Rice, so maybe the White Sox have a good selection here.
Since he’s already had one major arm surgery before even having one pitch of professional baseball is a bit worrisome. If he can stay healthy though, the White Sox have a pitcher who had a 100-strikeout season at the collegiate level, so there is that to look forward to.
Still this is a great redemption story for a player who was injured as a junior with the aforementioned Tommy John surgery, and now he’s been drafted, and now can start working his climb up the ladder of the White Sox organization.
Best of luck to the righty, and hopefully we’ll see him in the majors in the future.