Sammy Stafura develops into a top draft prospect

Sammy Stafura hung Gatorade Player of the Year signs throughout his family’s New York home leading up to his senior season. The Panas (NY) High School shortstop wanted the constant reminder of what he was working towards.

Throughout his high school career, Stafura dedicated himself to refining his craft. He hoped the long hours of training would culminate in him earning the distinction of New York’s top player. Stafura hit .511 with 14 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, 40 RBIs and 29 stolen bases in 113 plate appearances in 29 games this spring.

It was a senior year to remember and concluded with him being named the 2022-23 Gatorade New York Baseball Player of the Year. His success and development also led to an increase in professional interest. Stafura is a Clemson commit and a likely first-round pick in Sunday’s MLB draft.

“I was just thankful for the opportunity, as there aren’t many people in my shoes,” Stafura said. “I gave other people on my team opportunities, which was awesome. It was fun. I was just myself. I knew all the practice I put in the offseason would show on the field, so I just played loose.”

Stafura is an exciting player with a well-rounded toolset. The 6-foot, 190-pound right-handed hitter uses simple mechanics and a quick, compact swing to consistently make hard contact and drive the ball into the gaps. He shows solid raw power and should continue to add more power as he matures.

Scouts believe Stafura can stick at shortstop long term. He is an excellent athlete who moves well laterally and covers plenty of ground at shortstop. He also has a strong arm, quick release and high baseball IQ.

“I think it is the combination of everything,” said Stafura on his strengths. “The goal when training is to be the best in all aspects of my game. I’m trying to be as athletic as possible, and I know the more athletic you are, the more you will adjust. Baseball is a game of adjusting.”

Stafura has a ton of potential and figures to impact all facets of the game at the pro level. His journey into a top prospect is unique.

Stafura is a first-generation American. His parents immigrated to the United States from Slovakia. His parents weren’t familiar with baseball, and his father encouraged Stafura to play soccer, tennis and hockey growing up.

Stafura has played baseball since he was 5 years old and quickly developed a love for the sport. His passion for baseball came from watching his older brother, Steven, play the game.

Over the last five years, Steven, who is 22, has trained Stafura and assisted him with the draft process. Stafura raves about Stephen’s impact on his young career and describes his relationship with his brother as a “super special bond.”

Stafura has used his family’s background as motivation during his career.

“My dad came here when he was 18, and my mom came here when she was like 9. My dad came here with no English and a $100 bill,” Stafura said. “He found a way to become a successful man. My motivation comes from that. If he had no excuses for becoming the man he is now, then there shouldn’t be any excuses for me. I can do anything I put my mind to. I have a goal, so I am going to stick to it.”

Read more in-depth stories on top 2023 MLB draft prospects at Baseball Prospect Journal.

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Video of Sammy Stafura.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today,, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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