Shortly after the 2013 MLB Draft came to a close, Baseball America published a list that showed how many players from BA’s Top-500 each team selected. The Minnesota Twins were tied for 4th on that list with 18 Top-500 players drafted but all of that would be largely immaterial if they were unable to actually sign most if not all of the Top-500 players they selected.
Getting all of them into the fold is unlikely, if not flat out impossible, but today they cleared their largest hurdle by signing high school RHP Kohl Stewart to $4,544,400 bonus. An amount that wound up matching the slot value for the 4th overall pick. While there was never any real concern about his signability, he did have a scholarship to play QB and also pitch for the baseball team at Texas A&M on the table. When it comes to contract negotiations, until the deal is done you never can be sure how things will play out. No doubt Twins Territory is breathing a little easier tonight with Stewart, the draft’s top-rated high school pitcher and consensus top-10 player, now officially a part of the organization.
Stewart was the first HS pitcher taken in the first round by the Twins since they selected Farragut HS (Tennessee) RHP Kyle Waldrop 25th overall back in 2004. More recently they have spent a couple supplemental round picks on high school arms grabbing RHP Jose Berrios (32nd overall, 2012) and RHP Hudson Boyd (55th overall, 2011).
I will have a lot more on Stewart and the Twins history of drafting pitchers in the 1st round in the coming days, but for now here is what Baseball America had to say about him in their pre-draft report:
Scouts love the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder’s arsenal, athleticism and competitiveness. They say that he has better present stuff than Jameson Taillon did when the Pirates took the suburban Houston righthander No. 2 overall in 2010. Stewart has boosted his fastball from 88-93 mph last summer to 91-96 for much of the spring, though his velocity tails off at times in the later innings. His life and command with his heater make it even more dominating, but his best offering is a power mid-80s slider with tilt. He has improved his curveball and shows feel for his changeup, and he’ll display four above-average big league pitches at times.
Kohl Stewart signing is wonderful news but after giving us the main course the Twins treated us to more.
In addition to Stewart, they also inked high school lefty and 4th round selection Stephen Gonsalves to a $700,000 bonus. Then they followed that up with the announcement of a slew of other signings. All told the Twins now have deals done with at least 12 of their top 15 picks. LSU RHP Ryan Eades (2nd), Indiana RHP Aaron Slegers (5th) and Indiana 3B Dustin DeMuth (8th) are the three still unsigned according to Baseball America’s Draft Database.
There is some discrepancy in the information available however.
1500ESPN has the count at 23 players signed and 21 of the top 25 with deals in place. BA currently has the count at 20 players signed and 18 of the top 25. Both are likely accurate counts as the staff at Baseball America tends err on the side of caution and verify deals before they report them or update their lists.
Regardless, the future of the Minnesota Twins is a little bit brighter today than it was yesterday and that is a wonderful thing.