Through effective drafting and the stockpiling of prospects, the Boston Red Sox currently have one of the best and deepest farm systems in all baseball. The team has found value at all levels of the draft and international signings, with right-handed pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz being one of the most recent prized additions to the organization.
Stankiewicz almost didn’t make it to Boston. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the second round in 2012 out of Forth Worth Christian High School in Texas, but elected not to sign in order to attend Seminole State Junior College in Oklahoma.
During his one year of college ball, Stankiewicz dominated. Although he had just a 4-5 record in 11 games (nine starts), he had a sparkling 2.52 ERA and struck out 70 batters in 60.2 innings.
Boston’s amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye told WEEI’s Alex Speier why the team was so thrilled with bringing the 19-year-old Stankiewicz aboard:
“He’s a big, physical pitcher. He’s got, probably for me, one of the best deliveries in the draft. His arm works really well. He throws three pitches, and he really commands his fastball. I think one of the interesting things about Teddy is he’s 19 years old as a junior college pitcher but you can kind of almost consider him pitching like a college junior. We felt like if this kid were at an SEC school like Arkansas where he was slated to go last year, there’s a chance this kid would be pitching like a college junior. He attacks the strike zone. His changeup has really improved from last year to this year, breaking ball has gotten better. We’ve kind of seen a little bit of the improvements from year to year and his fastball was up to 96 this year and really consistently sitting in the low 90s. I think he’s a guy we really felt comfortable with. We trusted, had really good mound demeanor and a guy that was going to go out and throw a lot of strikes and compete at the lower levels right away.”
After signing, Stankiewicz was eased into his first professional season because of the full load he had already shouldered at school. He made nine appearances for the short-season Lowell Spinners, posting a 2.29 ERA without recording a decision. He struck out 15 batters in 19.2 innings, while permitting just two walks and 17 hits.
The Red Sox are already loaded with prospects, but Stankiewicz has the potential to be one of the best. He will get a full year under his belt in 2014, and because of his advanced skill and pitch arsenal, could advance quickly.
Shortly after joining Lowell, Stankiewicz took a few moments to chat about his draft experience and baseball career. He is definitely a young player to monitor closely as the Red Sox continue to cultivate their impressive farm system.
Teddy Stankiewicz Interview:
How did you first become interested in baseball?: When I was about five-years old my dad just put a ball in my hand; like a little rubber ball; and just started throwing it around. I couldn’t stop picking up and throwing a baseball, or any ball in particular. He just kind of led me to the right path. I think he did a good job so far.
Were you always a pitcher when you were growing up?: [I played] all over the place. I played every position when I was younger. Mainly in high school, I played mostly first or third and was a decent hitter, but mainly I was still a pitcher. One year I had in college this past year, I was a straight pitcher and played no other position.
Is there any pitcher you model yourself after?: I’d like to say Justin Verlander. I have mechanics that I feel are somewhat like his. He’s just incredible, and a good guy I think to model after.
What do you currently throw for pitches?: I have a fastball, curveball, slider, changeup. I am working and developing to throw my curveball better. My changeup is average and the slider is I believe at least average. My curveball could do really, really well. Hopefully can keep my fastball consistent and not have a lot of dropping up and down.
Do you consider your fastball your best pitch?: Yes, it’s my best pitch. It usually sits around 92. We’ll see what happens.
You were drafted by the New York Mets as the 75th overall pick in 2012. What went into your decision to go to school versus not signing with them?: I told everyone I wanted slot. It didn’t happen, but that’s okay because it just wasn’t meant to be I guess. Instead of going to a three-year college, I decided to go to a one-year to get better. I hoped to get better in that one year enough to move up more in this (2013) draft, which I was able to do (Boston took him in the second round, with the 45th overall pick), luckily. I learned to work harder and school and stuff, so it actually made me a lot more mature. I really appreciate that I got to go to college for one year.
What was your draft experience like this year? How did you find out you had been drafted?: I was just waiting to get drafted, but I didn’t know exactly it was going to be the Boston Red Sox. I had an idea, but I was in a mix. I got picked and that was very exciting.
Were you huddled around the computer or TV waiting to get drafted?: Oh, TV definitely. We had a lot of my family there with me, and everyone was crying and screaming. It was just excitement through everybody. It was just an awesome feeling.
Did you get a chance to celebrate before heading off to start your pro career?: We did a little celebration, but we’re waiting for a little bit of time for whenever I’m back and situated, and then we’ll have a party or something.
Did you get to visit Boston when you signed?: Yes, I did. I went there for the first day. I got to walk around Boston a little bit and see a little of the area. The next day I had my physical day. After that I got to Lowell.
Did you get to meet any of the players or coaches in Boston?: Not really. I met one or two players, but I don’t remember exactly who. It was really cool though. I got to see the clubhouse; got to see Fenway; got to see the training room. Never had been to Fenway before or Boston before, so it was a huge experience.
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