This was supposed to be Graeme Stinson's year.
After dominating in Duke's historic postseason run in 2018, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound hurler appeared near the top of many MLB mock drafts, and was selected as a preseason All-American nearly unanimously.
Yet Stinson’s velocity suddenly dropped this spring, and he has not appeared in game action since his start against Louisville March 15. After routinely lighting up the radar gun to the tune of the mid-90s in his relief role last season, the southpaw was sitting in just the mid-80s against the Cardinals.
And after nearly two months of uncertainty, Stinson will officially miss the rest of the season, per a report from Steve Wiseman of The News and Observer.
“He is throwing again,” Pollard told Wiseman. “He does feel good. But I think everything he’s doing now is in preparation for the draft.”
For Stinson’s first few outings of 2019, he looked like the same pitcher who allowed just one run and struck out 18 batters in 13.1 innings of NCAA tournament work. The junior hurler allowed no runs in his first three starts of the season, which all ended with a Blue Devil victory.
But Stinson struggled in his next two appearances, allowing 10 earned runs and 20 baserunners in 7.2 innings against Virginia and Louisville. Stinson, who relies on a powerful fastball and a nasty slider to get opposing batters out, did not appear to have the same arm strength in these two outings.
With the murky injury situation, both Stinson and the Blue Devils are left in an undesirable situation.
If Stinson can not prove that his arm is again at full strength in the next few weeks, his draft stock will fall significantly. Regarded as a surefire top selection entering the season, Stinson could slide out of the first round entirely should the issue persist.
Without its ace and Friday night starter in the fold, Duke sits on the NCAA tournament bubble, and will need to make a run without last postseason's hero.
For now, all Stinson and the Blue Devils can do is hope that the recent arm problems do not persist, and that the Norcross, Ga., native returns to dominance.
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