The waiting game is over and the Minnesota Twins finally have their prized draft pick Kohl Stewart signed and ready to compete. The Twins issued a press release on Monday to announce the signing of their number four overall pick in this year’s draft. It is being reported that Stewart signed for the full slot value of $4,544,400 according to Jim Callis of Baseball America’s Twitter account. This amount should come as no surprise to fans as the Twins were expected to give Stewart the kind of money that he simply could not turn down in order to persuade him to choose the Twins over a college football scholarship to Texas A&M.
Stewart was a player that the Twins had targeted throughout their draft evaluations because of his age, upside and obvious talent. ESPN’s baseball expert Keith Law believes that Stewart has four legitimate pitches, two of which have a chance to end up as 70-grade offerings on the 20-80 scouting scale that pitchers are evaluated by. The two pitches that could end up as 70-grades would be his fastball—which averages around 92-94 mph, but can reach as high as 97—and his slider which averages around 85-88 mph with a late break. An important thing to keep in mind is that Stewart is still 18 years old so he certainly could continue to grow and develop into a stronger pitcher which may add a few mph to his fastball and make him an even more dominant pitcher.
Stewart is believed to be a front-of-the-rotation type of prospect that the Twins have been craving since the departure of Johan Santana. With an injury to Alex Meyer and his up-and-down season so far, the Twins are looking for as many high-end pitching options as possible to comprise their future rotation with. Signing Stewart to a contract was a huge step in forming that rotation and solidifying, arguably, its most important piece.
It is unknown where and when Stewart will start his professional career, but don’t be surprised to see him start in Rookie ball sometime in the next month or so. From that point on, it will be interesting to see how well this youngster improves and progresses from start to start.