Seasoned Stinson Working Hard

Stinson is holding his own in the Gnats bullpen

SAVANNAH, GA - It is Josh Stinson's third season with the Sand Gnats but he continues to pick up new things in his first season in a full-time relief role. Drafted in 2006 and known for a deep repertoire, Stinson is making further adjustments while using his experience to find success.

Savannah reliever Josh Stinson, one of the older and more experienced guys on the Sand Gnats pitching staff, is progressing well in his third year with the Sand Gnats and using that experience to benefit himself as well as the younger arms on the team.

"I definitely see it as an advantage in both my time here and my time in St. Lucie," said Stinson.

2009 marks the third year Stinson started a season with Savannah. Last year, he was promoted to High-A St. Lucie in July, after going 3-6 with a 3.52 ERA with the Gnats.

"After being here three years in Savannah and with my time in St. Lucie, I think I have a lot of insight on how to pitch to hitters and it makes it easier to know what pitches to throw in certain situations," Stinson continued.

"For a lot of these hitters in this league, it's their first or second year playing professional baseball. Being that young they have a tendency to lean into a braking ball or easily be caught off balance when they might be sitting fastball," he continued.

"So I think it's definitely an advantage being here for some time because it has taught me how to approach those hitters, learn their tendencies and have the wherewithal to know what pitches to throw in different circumstances."

After a shaky performance Wednesday night in the eight-game home stand finale against the Lexington Legends, Stinson's ERA raised from 2.92 to 3.91. In that appearance, he threw only 0.2 of an inning and gave up three earned runs on one hit and two walked batters.

Despite this setback however, he has remained one of the more reliable arms in the Gnats bullpen.

"He's definitely a leader on our pitching staff. He's been here a few years now. He's got a good curveball and a good slider and he's fastball is consistently in the low 90s," said pitching coach Mark Valdes.

A former starter, the Shreveport, La. native has adjusted well to being a key part of the Gnats bullpen.

Drafted out of Northwood High school in the 37th round of the 2006 draft, the right-hander had a solid arsenal of pitches, and although he has adapted well to his new role as a reliever, he is still capable to mix in those four pitches.

"He still has all four pitches but it's tough when you're in the bullpen and you try to not get beat with your third or fourth best pitch," said Valdes.

With his four pitches looking better than ever, Stinson looks to bounce back and be a dominating presence in the Savannah bullpen.

"As a reliever, my short term goals this season is to pitch well every time my numbers called and when I come into games with inherited runners I want to make sure I don't let those runners score," Stinson explained.

"Inherited runners is a big thing so I just want to make sure I can focus on that and get the job done when they bring me into games," he continued.

"I hope that I can be playing in High-A ball by the end of the season or next year but I just have to focus on being the best pitcher I can be and let the future take care of itself."

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