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Article: Extend Miggy

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:14 PM
Now that we’ve got to see Miguel Sano play third base for the better part of a month, it’s probably fair to say that he’s going to man th...
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Game Thread: Twins at Rangers, 4/26@7:05pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:08 PM
And…. Welcome back to the nightly game threads this is your host diehard... er... Vanimal reporting live from Corpus Christi Texas where...
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Errors: What's the Point?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:01 PM
Seriously, what's with the protection of the defender at the expense of the pitcher? Both Sano and Dozier had balls hit right at them tha...
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Minnesota Wild Thread

Minnesota Wild Talk Today, 08:43 PM
Best in the West!  We need a thread to talk about these guys!   I'm really, really impressed with this team.  12 good forw...
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Article: Impromptu Draft Update

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 08:57 PM
The draft is quickly approaching (but still seems like a lifetime away). Twins Daily's draft coverage is being mapped out.But as of today...
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Get to Know: Kohl Stewart

Like everyone else, I have read the reports on Kohl Stewart. Big fastball. Very good curveball. Developing changeup, and quite possibly, the best slider in the organization. I ranked him #4 in my personal Top 30 Twins prospect lists, and he also was the #4 choice in the Top 10 Twins Prospect rankings.

I got to see him pitch three innings in a minor league spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays Class Low A affiliates the other day. After the game, I had the opportunity to talk to him for five minutes to learn a little bit more.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Attached Image: Kohl Stewart 6.jpg
As we all know, Stewart was a terrific high school quarterback in Texas. He was one of the top quarterback recruits in the entire country. However, he also had a fastball that reached 97 mph and at least three other quality pitches. Because of that, the Twins selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Stewart signed quickly with the Twins, giving up that scholarship to Texas A&M. This past fall, instead of getting ready for a football season (likely redshirting since Johnny Manziel was the starting QB at Texas A&M), he went to the Twins Florida Instructional League and learned more about pitching.

Was it strange for him not to be wearing the helmet and shoulder pads? Did he miss football? Stewart said, “No. I was still able to hang around it. I hung out with all my buddies. Chilled out with my family and had a good time.”

In Friday’s game against the Rays, Stewart showed off a couple of dominant pitches. His fastball sat around 92-94 and touched 95. His curveball was devastating to hitters, and he recorded four strikeouts. He also showed a couple of changeups. However, his best pitch is generally considered his slider. The Twins (and most teams) do not wanting their young pitchers throwing too many slider. In fact, he did not throw a slider in the outing.

He’s still young and really hasn’t thrown a lot of innings in his life because of football. He’s working on other things this spring. He said, “Fastball command. Really working on the curveball, which I threw today, and the two-seam fastball.”

In Ft. Myers, he has a lot of good teachers around, excited to work with him. Stewart mentioned that “Ivan (Arteaga) has been working with me a lot. Just in the two times I’ve thrown with him, he’s helped me a lot. Raz (Twins minor league pitching coordinator Eric Rasmussen) has always been in my ear about certain stuff. I think both of them have helped me a lot.”

But others have helped him get to this stage in his life as well. When asked who has helped him get to this point, he said, “It’s been a lot of people. A lot of people. Dennis Fay, who I work out with in the offseason has been real big for me. It’s just kind of been a lot of people.”

As far as where he spends the 2014 season, he isn’t too worried about that. He understands that it isn’t something he can control, but that he can be instrumental in what the team decides to do. He said, “Not really up to me. I’m just trying to refine myself as much as I can, command my stuff as well as I can. After that, it’s up to them.”

On Friday, he started for the Cedar Rapids work group, but he was followed in the game by a couple other young Twins prospects, Fernando Romero and Lewis Thorpe. There are other strong young arms in the Twins lower levels, and they’re all working together well.

Stewart said, “I think we all kind of help each other out. To be honest with you, I think there are a lot of guys in the system that are really good, that help each other out.”

When Stewart signed, he and fellow 2013 draftee Stephen Gonsalves came to Target Field and were able to meet go to the clubhouse and on the field, and meet many in the organization.

“I met (Joe) Mauer. I met (Justin) Morneau. I met a lot of guys in the clubhouse that day. Go to talk to Bert Blyleven. All those guys.”
The is a lot that goes with being a top draft pick, and it can’t be easy for someone so young.

“There’s a lot of Twins people that have been here a long time. They kind of expect a lot of things out of the guys they draft. I think there’s definitely an expectation. The guys that they’ve drafted in the last two years have been… the numbers they’ve been putting up… Like Buxton, I think there’s definitely an expectation that’s carrying itself up to the big leagues.”

Is Kohl Stewart feeling that pressure already?

“Oh yeah, I definitely feel it in the locker room, and around the other minor league guys. Everybody wants to win, and do well, and move up. So, I think everybody’s kind of feeding off of that for now.”

Growing up in Houston, Stewart grew up an Astros fan and went to several games. “Got to see Clemens, I mean, that run they made in 2005 team was fun. Those guys were kind of staples growing up.”

Of course, things have changed for Stewart in the last year. His allegiances lie elsewhere.

“I’m a Twins fan now… for good!”

Most likely, he will remain in Ft. Myers and work with the players in Extended Spring. It is certainly possible that he could be in Cedar Rapids sometime in 2014. As he grows on the mound and off of it, he has the chance to move quickly. Whether he debuts with the Twins in 2017 or 2018 or 2019, it is most important that when he comes up, he’s ready. His star certainly shines bright. There’s no question about that.

For now, Stewart is among 75 or more pitchers working hard in minor league camp, just waiting to find out where they will begin their 2014 season. Stewart remains focused on the things he can control.

“I’m trying to take as much as I can from as many pitchers as I can. Hoping I can be as good as I can.”

That could be really good!

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