College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2011 College Baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be providing one player per day until we reach number 1.
We continue the list today with number 24 with Texas A&M junior RHP John Stilson. The Texarkana, Texas native attended Texas High School where he was a three time letter winner as a shortstop. He helped his school to the postseason all three years and was named District MVP his senior season in 2008. He was also the district MVP in basketball his senior season, and earned three letters in football at wide receiver, earning first team all-district honors as a senior. Stilson went to Texarkana College to play shortstop, but was converted into a starting pitcher. The experiment worked, and he was named NJCAA All-American after going 12-1 with a 2.44 ERA and 78 K’s. The Minnesota Twins drafted Stilson in the 18th round of the 2009 draft out of Texarkana, but he declined to sign and moved on to Texas A&M.
The 6’3″ right hander had no problem transitioning to NCAA baseball, as he went an outstanding 9-1 with a 0.80 ERA in 33 appearances for the Aggies, with 114 K’s in 79 IP, all out of the bullpen. Throwing a fastball, changeup and slider, His 12.99 K/9 trailed only Chance Ruffin of Texas. He started off his college career by going 18.1 scoreless innings until giving up a solo homerun against Washington State. Stilson’s dominance in relief propeled the Aggies to win the Big XII Championship, with Stilson throwing 4 innings of relief against Baylor, picking up the win in extra innings.
The legend of John Stilson grew in the Miami Regional, as the Aggies went 1-1 in their first 2 days. Down 3-2 to Dartmouth in their elimination game, Stilson came in and threw 3 innings (58 pitches) of scoreless baseball, striking out six, and was able to get the victory as the Aggies scored in the 8th and 9th to win. Later that night, Stilson was called into a high scoring affair and shut down the Miami Hurricanes by throwing 66 pitches over 3.2 innings and didn’t give up a run, helping preserve the victory for Michael Wacha and pick up his 10th save in the process. He reportedly hit 98 MPH on the radar gun multiple times in his second appearance of the day. Texas A&M fell to Miami the next day, ending their season
Stilson’s efforts over the season garnered him numerous awards, including Big XII Newcomer of the Year, as well as First Team All-Big XII as well as All-American honors from multiple organizations. He is a 2011 Louisville Slugger and NCBWA First Team Preseason All-American.