How RHP Kohl Stewart Helps the Minnesota Twins
With the Minnesota Twins selecting Kohl Stewart (RHP, St. Pius X High School in Texas), it’s clear what their draft strategy is: PITCHERS, PITCHERS, PITCHERS, BAYBAY!
Stewart is the ninth hurler the Twins have selected in the first round in the last six years. However, when you take a look at that list, it’s easy to see why they keep going back. Of the previous eight, two (Shooter Hunt and Matthew Bashore) are no longer in baseball, one (Carlos Gutierrez – Cubs) is no longer in the organization, two have had Tommy John surgery (Kyle Gibson and Alex Wimmers) and another (Luke Bard) is yet to pitch this season because of various injuries. Congrats, Jose Berrios and Hudson Boyd! You win ALL of the homer hankies and fried walleye sandwiches you can handle.
The Twins currently have five former first-round picks on their 25-man roster (Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmelee and Glen Perkins). Notice that Perkins is the only pitcher on this list. While Anthony Swarzak (second round) and Brian Duensing (third round) were also selected high, the Twins’ success rate with drafting pitchers is minimal.
With the way the Twins staff has performed the last three years (24th in league ERA in 2013, 28th in 2012 and 29th in 2011), it’s safe to say this mix of bad luck and bad evaluations is beginning to have a strong negative effect. Stewart is a step toward amending that.
Stewart is currently committed to play football for Texas A&M as a quarterback in the fall. Some kid named Mauer was committed to be Florida State's quarterback when he was taken first overall back in 2001, and I hear he turned out okay. Besides, who wants to play at the same school as Johnny Manziel? What has he ever done with his life?
The 6’3”, 215-pound righty throws in the lower-90’s, according to scouts, and has a plus-slider but struggles with his control at times. With a frame like that, added velocity should be expected.
However, there’s this: he suffered a shoulder injury during the first game of his senior football season. You’d think that, with their track record, the Twins might be gun-shy about pulling the trigger on something even as miniscule as that. At this point, the organization cannot afford to misfire on another first round pitcher, or they run the risk of wasting the talent they have within the farm system at other positions.