Arizona Diamondbacks 2014 Spring Training Profile: Matt Stites

Matt Stites

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Stites was acquired from the San Diego Padres in a trade that sent starting pitcher Ian Kennedy from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Friars. Stites is a hard-throwing reliever with very high potential, though his small frame raises questions as to whether or not he can reach his ceiling.

Stites was drafted in round 17 of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Friars. He was also drafted in round 33 of the 2010 draft by the Chicago Cubs, but he chose not to sign and to return to college.

Despite his small frame, the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher has dominated the minor leagues his entire three-year career. In 2011, between rookie-ball and low-A, Stites pitched to a 1.82 ERA in 34.2 innings with 10.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9. He also had a remarkable 0.635 WHIP. In 2012, in A-ball, Stites pitched 48.2 innings with a sparkling 0.74 ERA. He had elite control as well with just 0.6 BB/9 and 11.1 K/9.

At double-A in 2013, Stites pitched to a 2.08 ERA in 52 innings with a career-low 8.8 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. Despite still being very good, the right-hander clearly wasn’t as dominant as he had been at the lower minor league levels.

Stites’ repertoire includes a mid-90s fastball, a developing changeup and a very good slider. He clearly has the stuff to get more than his fair share of strikeouts, but he also has outstanding command of his pitches. His great K/9 and BB/9 rates are almost unheard of. Most of the time, a pitcher has either a high K/9 or a good BB/9 — not both.

Zach Morrison is a Pirates writer at Rantsports.com. You can follow Zach on Twitter, add him as a friend on Facebook and add him to your circles on Google+.

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