No. 31 Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Nate’s Rank: 29, Gary’s Rank: 36
Kohl Stewart was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. He was a highly recruited pitcher and quarterback that opted to sign on with the Twins for the slotted bonus of $4,544,400. While the Houston born right-hander hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations of such a high pick yet, he has put up fairly decent numbers over his six seasons in the Twins minor league system.
That said, Stewart went unclaimed when left unprotected in last winter’s Rule 5 draft. Stewart was coming off his worst statistical season surrendering a 4.09 ERA through 71 innings at AA Chattanooga, and surrendering four earned runs over five innings in his lone start for AAA Rochester.
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After being added to the 40-man roster, the 23-year-old made his Major League debut this past Sunday giving up three earned runs in 4.1 innings. Stewart’s performance may be a sample of what to expect from him as a big league pitcher. On the negative side, he gave up eight hits and a walk while striking out one. He also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. Of 74 thrown pitches, only two were swung at and missed.
On the positive side of Stewart’s first outing, he was able to keep any damage to a minimum. Of the 19 official logged at-bats, he induced 14 ground balls and two pop-ups to go along with that lone strikeout. No deep fly balls, just two line drives. He held the Tigers to four singles through his first four scoreless innings. The wheels sort of fell off in the fifth inning when after getting the first out, Stewart gave up four consecutive singles before walking the final batter he faced. But if not for a bonehead misplay by the usually reliable Ehire Adrianza, that was ruled a single, Stewart may well have gotten through five innings with only one run allowed. Stewart’s fastball topped out at 95 MPH.
In short, Kohl Stewart is just 23-years-old. He is a groundball pitcher that relies on consistency and quality defensive play by his infielders. While his bright star may have faded, he could develop into a reliable back-end starter.