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Stewart dealing with changes to MLB Draft

Junior Nick Stewart will start on the mound for the James Madison baseball team when the Dukes open the 2020 season Friday afternoon.
Junior Nick Stewart will start on the mound for the James Madison baseball team when the Dukes open the 2020 season Friday afternoon.(WHSV)
Published: May. 14, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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James Madison right-handed pitcher Nick Stewart would likely be selected in the 2020 MLB Draft if it featured the normal 40 rounds.

However, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's draft has been reduced to five rounds. Stewart getting selected in 2020 under the new guidelines is now uncertain.

"There's a lot of factors going into it, a lot of sleepless nights thinking about it all," said Stewart, in a recent Zoom interview with WHSV.

Stewart has been in JMU's weekend rotation since his freshman season and is considered the Dukes' top pro prospect in 2020. The 6'5" RHP has a 3.19 ERA and 147 strikeouts across 155 innings pitched at JMU.

"One of the neat things that scouts love about Nick is that he is young for his grad year," said JMU head coach Marlin Ikenberry.

James Madison associated head coach and pitching coach Jimmy Jackson added: "When he takes the mound, he thinks he's the best player on the field which I think is a great thing and he's still a projection guy. He's still really young. He's only 20. He showed up to college at 17."

Aside from his success with the Dukes, Stewart pitched well last summer against some of the best college hitters in the country when he played for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Even if he doesn't get drafted in 2020, Stewart still has options moving forward. Stewart could sign with an MLB franchise after the draft or return to JMU for one or two more seasons of eligibility.

"Ultimately when it comes down to it I'm not really going to know what decision to make or what's going to happen until it actually happens," said Stewart. "So really just following what is best for me and my future is really what I am just putting into my mind."

The Major League Baseball draft is scheduled to take place June 10-11.

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