Opposing baseball teams didn’t always have to pitch to J.T. Ginn, but they couldn’t avoid him when he was on the mound.
Ginn, a senior right-handed pitcher and shortstop at Brandon, Miss., is a Mississippi State signee. He’s also a likely first or second-round draftee in Major League Baseball’s June Amateur Draft.
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He gave up two earned runs this season, both of them in his first outing in February. He finished the year 5-1 with an 0.36 ERA, 78 strikeouts and only seven walks in 39.1 innings.
He also hit .419 with 29 RBI and nine homers. Those totals might have been higher if not for the 40 walks he received.
“When they would throw to him he would be in shock,” Brandon coach Stacy Hester said.
“They were pitching to me, but they really weren’t,” Ginn said. “I saw a lot of junk pitches. At the beginning. I got my little hot streak at the plate and then they started walking me a bit.”
He’s 6-2 and 215 pounds and began as pitching a reliever for Brandon when he was a sophomore. This season, he proved he could be a starter, Hester said.
“On the mound, he was just fantastic,” Hester said. “They had him at 100 mph in the last game that he pitched in (a 1-0 loss to state finalist George County of Lucedale). He was throwing 94 or 95 in the last inning. He’s finally realized what he had to do to be a starter without me telling him. Just pace yourself. You don’t have to throw hard every pitch. He’s got major league stuff.”
Scouts have noticed. Nearly 70 of them were there to see him pitch against Northwest Rankin (Flowood) on March 19, when he hit 98 mph. On Tuesday, representatives of the New York Mets, who have the sixth and the 48th pick in the draft, visited with him.
“He has the chance to have a life-changing moment in a couple of weeks, but you never know,” Hester said. “When I coached at New Hope (Columbus), we were 43-0 one year and I was the national coach of the year, and I had so many good teams there. I have 842 wins, but I’ve never had a kid who is a complete package as much as J.T.”
Ginn said his biggest area of improvement was smoothing out his delivery.
“That was a big thing,” Ginn said. “Before I had kind of a reliever type of delivery. I really focused on cleaning that up and throwing all my pitches for strikes.”
His bread-and-butter is a fastball with plenty of movement. He has a curve ball that comes out at 87 or 88 mph. He also has a nasty change-up that he added this year.
“I’ve worked on that a lot,” Ginn said. “I have a pretty good feel for it. I didn’t need it that much.”