With the 43rd overall selection in the 2013 MLB Draft, the Minnesota Twins continued to stockpile pitchers—with the hopes of rebuilding a troubling pitching staff—when they drafted right-hander Ryan Eades out of LSU. Eades becomes the second pitcher taken in as many rounds for the Twins who also took prep right-hander Kohl Stewart in the first round—number four overall—of the draft Thursday night. While Eades doesn’t project to have the upside and front-of-the-rotation type of label that Stewart is going to carry with him, Eades does have the tools necessary to become a solid middle to front of the rotation type of starter.
Eades was originally drafted in the 19th round by Colorado back in 2010, but failed to sign with the club and went on to LSU where he had a solid career for the Tigers. After being named the number nine prospect in the 2011 Cape Cod League by Baseball America, Eades garnered the 2011 Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year award in large part to his miniscule 0.84 ERA he posted during his time in the league. Eades stands at 6’3 and weighs 205 lbs., so he does possess an ideal frame for a pitcher to have and grow into. In 2013, his junior year, at LSU, Eades posted a 8-1 record with a 2.81 ERA with 77 strikeouts, 30 walks and an opponent’s batting average of .269 in 96 innings over 16 starts; so the body of work that Eades accumulated during his time in college definitely merits a second round selection.
In terms of his pitching repertoire, Eades’ fastball averages in the 90-93 mph range and can occasionally rise to 95 mph when he needs it to. His fastball has good movement, which is a plus, but it is his curveball that is his “swing-and-miss” pitch. Eades’ sharp breaking curveball, as well as his solid change up, both show potential of becoming “plus pitches” that will complement his already stellar fastball nicely. Finally, Eades is said to have solid control overall and doesn’t walk a lot of hitters—which is the prototypical type of Twins’ pitcher—but he does lack consistency when locating all of his pitches which could hinder his development long-term.
Injury concerns have been a problem with Eades over his career, as he suffered a shoulder injury during his junior year of high-school which prompted him to not pitch at all during his senior season. He took it slow, starting in the bullpen, when he began his college career and has not experienced any major shoulder or arm problems since; however, I would certainly keep an eye on Eades’ health situation as he progresses through the minors.
Overall, for a second round pick, the Twins took a player that has the potential of developing into a solid pitcher at the majors and that is all you can ask for in a draft. While he may not become the type of pitcher that Stewart develops into, he still could be a valuable piece to a rebuilding pitching staff. I’d give the Eades pick a B+ grade, with the Twins earning a B+ overall grade for day one of the 2013 MLB Draft.