I guess if there is one positive to having three straight 96+ loss seasons, it is the high draft picks that the Minnesota Twins have received. In 2011, the Twins had the second worst record in baseball, so they had the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. With it, they selected Byron Buxton. In 2012, the Twins had the fourth worst record, so in 2013 they had the fourth pick.
The selection was something that had Twins Daily buzzing for a month leading up to the draft. Would the Twins use the pick to take one of the three big college players? Would they work out a pre-draft deal with Reese McGuire and then use extra bonus money later in the draft?
The Houston Astros took Mark Appel with the first overall pick. Third baseman Kris Bryant was selected by the Chicago Cubs with the second pick. Then the Colorado Rockies drafted Jonathan Gray with the third pick. The player the Twins were most rumored to want all along, right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart, fell to them with the fourth pick and they were excited to draft him
. (Jeremy, John and Seth talked about the pick
at the end of the first day of the draft.)
Stewart was the 6th
-ranked quarterback in the nation and had signed to play at Texas A&M. However, when he was drafted he made it clear he had every intention of signing quickly with the Twins. In a conference call following his selection, Stewart said, “Football has always taken rank over baseball, especially in high school with it being so demanding and such a big deal here in Texas. I look forward to being able to just sit down and work on baseball for once. I’ve never been able to do that. I really didn’t start pitching at the level I have been pitching at until high school and then football came again and took away from that. So I’m really looking forward to being able to really focus on one thing and focus on that for a long period of time.”
Stewart is blessed with some great gifts. He has a mid-90s fastball and has been clocked at up to 97 mph. He has a slider in the upper-80s. He has a curveball and a change up and he is also working on a sinker.
Scouts said he had as much pure stuff as anyone in the draft, including Appel and Gray. Though some considered him fairly advanced for his age, he still has a lot of developing to do. In his 2013 high school season, he went 5-1 with a 0.18 ERA. He also struck out 59 batters in his 40 innings.
After signing, he went to the Gulf Coast League where he posted a 1.69 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In 16 innings, generally two or three inning stints, he walked three and struck out 16. He was promoted to Elizabethton where he made just one start
. He threw four shutout innings, giving up one hit, one walk and striking out eight.
However, he experienced some soreness in his right shoulder and the Twins were wise to shut him down.
In 2014, Stewart will certainly be one to watch. He will likely pitch for Cedar Rapids, in their six-man rotation. One thinks they will have him on some sort of innings limit or plan since he doesn't have a lot of innings on his arm.
In 2014, the Twins will have the fifth overall pick in the draft which means that selection will be a top story in 2014. The Twins have added a couple elite prospects through their high first-round picks the last two years. As a pitcher with a big fastball and huge potential, Stewart will be a key to the Twins staying strong for years to come.
A look at other Twins stories from 2013 includes:
#13 – Twins in the WBC
#12 – Drew Butera Traded to Dodgers
#11 – Twins Sign Kubel, Trade Doumit
#10 - Brian Dozier Breaks Through
#9 - Kyle Gibson Promoted
#8 - Aaron Hicks' Lost Year