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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Josh Stewart

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 12/5/78, Age: 24, Height: 6’3’’, Weight: 205, Bats: L, Throws: L. Acquired: White Sox - Drafted in the 5th Round of the 1999 Draft (Memphis University). 2001 Stats: (High-A - Winston-Salem) 4-6, 3.82 ERA, 64 IP, 64 H, 28 BB, 38 K; (AA - Birmingham) 3-4, 6.67 ERA, 82 IP, 110 H, 42 BB, 47 K. 2002 Stats: (AA - Birmingham) 11-7, 3.53 ERA, 150 IP, 145 H, 11 HR, 56 BB, 92 K.
   Josh Stewart is a left handed pitcher that is crawling his way up the prospect charts, mostly thanks to an outstanding Arizona Fall League campaign this year. A fifth round pick out of Memphis in 1999, Stewart is not overpowering from the mound, relying on hitting his spots and changing speeds. In his last 380 IP (going back to the beginning of 2000), he has allowed 416 hits, which if you put any stock in Voros McCracken’s work over at Baseball Prospectus makes perfect sense, because Stewart does not keep the ball out of play. His strikeouts hover around 5 to 5.5 men per nine innings, which are certainly at the bottom fringe of where one can expect to be successful, and at that level, fantastic control is necessary. Unfortunately, Josh Stewart does not have fantastic control, although he did improve dramatically this year, dropping from 4.5 BB/9 to less than 3.5. If he could make another leap to below 3.0 while keeping his strikeouts at the current level, I would feel better about his chances (something to watch in ’03). As it stands, as a 24 year old in AA experiencing these concerns, he is a fringe prospect, especially in an organization with the pitching depth that the White Sox currently possess.
    With Garland, Diaz, Rauch, Ginter, Buehrle, Wright, Adkins, Malone, Biddle, and Honel hanging around the system, players like Josh Stewart have a difficult task ahead of them in trying to break into the rotation. The White Sox, sometimes (it seems) despite the efforts of their management team, have assembled a wealth of young talent, and are poised to compete with the Twins and Indians for the next several years for the AL Central crown. Regrettably, I do not think that Josh Stewart will be part of that battle. His peripheral statistics point to a career on the fringe of the majors, which gives him virtually no chance in a deep White Sox farm system. His AFL campaign was very strong, and that will cause people to pay more attention to him than his regular season statistics would, so if he starts out hot in 2003 he may jump ahead in line, so to speak, but the odds are against him. In a perfect world, a comparison to Tom Glavine could (and should) be made, but for every Tom Glavine there are at least nine Jeff Johnson’s. Soft-tossing lefties are the exception rather than the rule in today’s version of MLB, so although Josh Stewart may very well open 2003 at AAA, it is very possible that that will be as high as he goes.


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