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2020 Mets draft profile: JT Ginn

With their second selection in the 2020 draft, the Mets selected JT Ginn, a right-handed pitcher from Mississippi.

Born: Flowood, Mississippi

Age: 21 (5/20/1999)

Height/Weight: 6’2”/200 lbs.

Position: RHP

Bats/Throws: R/R

School: Mississippi State University (Starkville, Mississippi)

John Thomas Ginn was a dominant pitcher at Brandon High School. He was named to numerous honorary teams, earning all-American, all-state, all-region, and all-district honors multiple times. He appeared in a handful of games for the Bulldogs in his freshman year in 2015 but did not appear on the mound. In his sophomore year, he began pitching and posted a 0.89 ERA in 31.1 innings, allowing 15 hits, walking 8, and striking out 48. In his junior year, he posted a 1.78 ERA in 39.1 innings, allowing 27 hits, walking 13, and striking out 69. In his senior year in 2018, he upped his game, posting a 0.36 ERA in 39.1 innings, allowing 10 hits, walking 9, and striking out 78. All in all, he pitched 110.0 innings for the Bulldogs over the course of his career, with a cumulative 1.02 ERA, allowing 52 hits, walking 30, and striking out 195. In addition, he hit .415/.581/.829 in 270 total at-bats, slugging 28 home runs and stealing 17 bases in 19 total attempts. In the 2018 MLB Draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Ginn with their first round selection, 30th overall. The Dodgers reportedly offered Ginn $2.4 million, a slightly overslot offer, but the right-hander turned them down. He did not make the decision lightly, and was torn, but decided to forego the money in order to attend Mississippi State University.

In his freshman season with Mississippi State, Ginn posted a 3.36 ERA in 80.1 innings, allowing 69 hits, walking 18, and striking out 103. He began experiencing arm soreness as he continued accumulating more innings than he ever had in a single season, but the soreness did not slow him down. His 8 wins ranked second on the team, and his strikeout total ranked second as well, both trailing staff ace Ethan Small. He was extremely dominant for most of the year, allowing just 12 extra base hits for the entire season, allowing three-or-fewer earned runs in 14 of his 17 starts, and allowing two-or-fewer walks in 16 of his 17 starts. For his performance, he was named to numerous honorary teams, and won a handful of prestigious awards, and was named Freshman of the Year by the SEC.

The 2020 season was a lost year for all players, as COVOD-19 caused the baseball season to end prematurely for all high school and college players, but the 2020 season was bad for Ginn for a different reason. After a single outing against Wright State, a brief, uninspiring outing that saw him allow two earned runs in three innings, he began experiencing soreness in his right arm once again. Head coach Chris Lemonis delayed his next start, but the right-hander ended up being diagnosed with a torn UCL, necessitating Tommy John surgery.

Ginn throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot with a simple delivery that has been toned down since his high school years. He still throws with some effort, but his mechanics overall have improved at his time at Mississippi State. When the Dodgers drafted him in 2018, there were concerns that he would be a reliever long-term, but his success as a starter in 2019 has lessened such concerns.

Prior to Tommy John, Ginn had an explosive fastball that sat in the low-to-mid-90s and topped out in the upper-90s. In addition to healthy velocity, the pitch also featured plenty of life and sink. He complemented the pitch with a slider and a changeup. His slider is his best secondary pitch, a wipeout breaking ball with two-plane depth sitting in the mid-80s. While his changeup is not as advanced as his slider, it is a potent pitch as well, with plenty of tumble and fade and generally featuring roughly 5-10 miles per hour of velocity differential from his fastball. The slider is graded by many evaluators as a true plus pitch, and his changeup has shown flashes of being one as well.