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  • Twins MLB Draft Profile: Kohl Stewart, RHP

    This profile was written about Kohl Stewart a week prior to the draft.

    Who IS This Guy?

    Young Texan Kohl Stewart (6’ 3, 195) is widely considered the top prep pitcher in the nation. Kohl Stewart is also, according to ESPN, the 6th best high-school quarterback in the nation and is committed to Texas A&M.

    Stewart is equipped with a mid-90s fastball (an improvement over last summer) and a “nasty” slider. The mid-80s slider projects as – if it’s not already – a plus pitch. It’s a legitimate strikeout pitch. He’s shown flashes of being able to throw a low-80s curveball and throws an occasional change-up as well. Of course, he’s able to do all of this despite splitting his time between baseball and football. He stands to show improvement as he shifts his focus to strictly baseball.

    A scouting director recently told Baseball America that "Stewart's pure stuff is as good as [Appel’s and Gray’s], and he's more athletic than they are." Scouts also believe that Stewart is more advanced than Jameson Taillon was at the same point in his career (when the Pirates actually claimed they preferred Taillon over Bryce Harper).

    Though not as big, Stewart profiles similar to Archie Bradley, a Diamondbacks draft pick in 2011, who needed $5 million to be bought out of his football commitment to Oklahoma. (Bradley signed a two-sport contract, which can be paid over five years; Stewart could too, but the entire bonus would count against this year's draft pool.) The ironic part is, as a quarterback, the ESPN football scouting report mentions twice that Stewart’s arm is “not elite”.

    It should also be mentioned that Stewart is a Type 1 diabetic. He is represented by Frontline Sports Management’s Darek Braunecker. Braunecker, a former MiLB pitcher, also represents Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett and prospective 1st rounder Trey Ball.

    You can follow him on twitter: @KohlStewart1.


    www.perfectgame.org

    Who Could He Be?

    Stewart could be a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter. But the track record of right-handed prep pitchers is limited, so making this selection at number four is not without risk. Since 2000, only seven prep right-handers have gone in the top 5.

    Dylan Bundy, Baltimore, 4th overall, 2011
    Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh, 2nd overall, 2010
    Matt Hobgood, Baltimore, 5th overall, 2009
    Mark Rogers, Milwaukee, 5th overall, 2004
    Chris Gruler, Cincinnati, 3rd overall, 2002
    Clint Everts, Montreal, 5th overall, 2002
    Gavin Floyd, Philadelphia, 4th overall, 2001

    Gavin Floyd has made 187 career major-league starts. The rest of that list has made a combined nine (all by Mark Rogers). Obviously, though, both Bundy (who’s currently been shut down to rest an ailing elbow) and Taillon (who’s pitching well in AA) are two of the highest-ranked pitching prospects in baseball.

    So while there is risk, there is also the chance for a very, very high reward.

    How Soon Could He Be Playing In Target Field?

    It would be unfair to compare any prep pitcher to Bundy, but Taillon and Bradley are much better comparisons. Unlike those two, though, Stewart would have the opportunity to get significant professional experience under his belt in 2013.

    If the Twins drafted Stewart, he would likely start with the GCL Twins and finish his year in Elizabethton. Next season (2014) would likely start a little later, but be spent in Cedar Rapids. He would probably start in Fort Myers – and finish in New Britain – in 2015 before returning to New Britain in 2016 and be a candidate for a mid-season promotion.

    Archie Bradley is currently dismantling AA and if he continues to, he could be in the majors this year. If Stewart was on that accelerated path, it would equate to being ready at some point in 2015.

    I would rather err on the side of caution and say that being in the Opening Day rotation in 2017 is be a realistic goal, with his first major league experience coming in the summer of 2016.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Messed Up Because....

    …they didn’t do their homework. If the Twins draft Kohl Stewart, they took the right guy. But, if the Twins fail to sign Kohl Stewart because of his commitment to college, they screwed it up. They would lose $4.5 million out of this year’s draft pool (but acquire pick #5 in the 2014 draft).

    If the Twins Draft This Guy, They Nailed It Because….

    …they got one of the three pitchers with the highest upside in the draft and, in all likelihood, had to shell out the smallest bonus to lock one of them up. Drafting fourth in what is widely considered to be a three-man draft isn’t ideal, but getting a pitcher with this upside – even with the risk – is like making lemonade out of lemons.

    ---
    Just like any other pitcher the Twins may consider, drafting Stewart would be a welcome addition to the organization. Though he is a year or two further away from making a contribution than many fans would prefer, you can’t try to turn the baseball draft into band-aids. At the end of the day, you want to have as much talent in the organization as possible and adding a talent - albeit someone who is a little raw (due to time spent on another sport) and comes with a significant amount of risk – is a giant leap in the right direction.

    Twins Daily MLB Draft Player Profiles:

    · Monday, May 20-- Sean Manaea, SP
    · Tuesday, May 21-- Austin Meadows, OF
    · Wednesday, May 22-- Trey Ball, OF
    · Thursday, May 23-- Ryan Stanek, RHP
    · Friday, May 24-- Clint Frazier, OF
    · Tuesday, May 28-- Reese McGuire, C
    · Wednesday, May 29—Braden Shipley, RHP


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    This article was originally published in blog: Twins MLB Draft Profile: Kohl Stewart, RHP started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 36 Comments
    1. cmb0252's Avatar
      cmb0252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by fairweather View Post
      Even if he became the twins best pitcher ever I couldn't cheer for this kid. Hope the Twins look elsewhere.
      I'm confused....what did he ever do to you? Did he beat you up in middle school and take your lunch money? From all accounts he doesn't have any real character concerns.
    1. mlhouse's Avatar
      mlhouse -
      Since talking to my cousin who is very in tune with A&M football, I have come around on drafting Kohl Stewart. He said that the normal bonus slot of the 4th overall pick is probably more than adequate to get him out of his football commitment. If the college arms like Shipley were just a notch better they would be no-brainer picks, but I have come around to drafting Stewart's upside.

      WIth that in mind, this organization needs to continue to stock up its pitching staff. I would use the next three picks on college arms like Aaron Blair (Marshall) at @43, Carlos Salazar (Fresno St.) at @78, and AJ Vanegas (Stanford) at @110.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I'd be curious to see a list of names of players that were drafted BEFORE the guys that were drafted 6-10. I'd bet those guys were passed on for "more proven" players.
    1. Pitz's Avatar
      Pitz -
      Keith Law's latest mock and chat today suggesting that they would still pick Stewart even if Gray were available makes it seem like Kohl Stewart is almost certainly the Twins' guy.

      Geordy (NJ)

      Love the Mock today, what are the chances that Gray really does end up in Cleveland's lap?

      Klaw (1:10 PM)

      Cleveland gets one of the top five guys, if they want one; if the Twins are as locked in on Kohl Stewart as the industry believes, and they pass on whichever of the four college guys gets to them, then Cleveland gets someone they'd be very excited to land. I think their nightmare scenario is that Gray, Appel, Bryant, and Moran go 1-4, which can happen if Moran does go 1-1.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      Very interesting stuff showing that the college pitchers are just as risky long-term than the high schoolers. Maybe their floor is higher, but the risk is still there.
      I didn't follow the draft a decade ago but I followed that group as prospects (albeit in hindsight). I remember there were several college pitchers selected for signability reasons. This is one of the reasons that Pirates were an awful franchise with 4 collegiate pitching busts (van bensalphabet, bullington, moskos and lincoln) with one success (Maholm). One interesting bust is Stauffer. He made the majors recently but failed his signing physical and signed way underslot IIRC. They would have been way better off not signing him and getting a pick the following year.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      I remember there were several college pitchers selected for signability reasons.
      This is one of the major problems with these comparisons. This could be mitigated by comparing pitchers based on the BA drafting ranking rather than their actual draft position. This would eliminate some of the signability influence that makes draft position unreliable. But this adds a new problem as some of the elite high school pitchers ended up going to college each year. How should a Gerit Cole or Matt Harvey be counted? They were each identified as one of the best high school pitchers but ended up going to college. Should they also be considered successful high school prospects, just college, or both? An interesting study would include those players in the high school success/failure list.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      The pre-draft BA ranking is an interesting idea. I think at a minimum those guys (esp the Pirates picks) are a lesson against taking a safe, underslot pick.
    1. InfraRen's Avatar
      InfraRen -
      And so it continues.......

      Kohl Stewart@KohlStewart11m
      Good luck to all my aggie teammates moving in today. Ill be there as soon as I can


      #leverage
    1. InfraRen's Avatar
      InfraRen -
      Jim Callis@jimcallisBA2m
      No. Always was going to sign @wexlerrules: Kohl Stewart loses some leverage with the new news A&M landed the top QB in the nation? #mlbdraft
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by InfraRen View Post
      And so it continues.......

      Kohl Stewart@KohlStewart11m
      Good luck to all my aggie teammates moving in today. Ill be there as soon as I can


      #leverage
      Well if we was planning on going to school, why isn't he already moving to campus along with the rest of his teammates? I call BS.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Complete BS. No way you throw about 3m dollars to be a ****ing red-shirt QB. Nobody is that stupid. You take the money when its there.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      This QB signing does nothing to hurt his leverage. His scholarship is still there. The coaches would still like him if he decided to commit. Ultimately the leverage has always come down to Stewart's desire to attend Texas A&M. They could have 5 of the best QB's waiting in the wings and if Stewart had a scholarship offer and truly wanted to go he could simply say no thanks to the Twins. Or Manziel could have left and Stewart was going to be the de facto starter coming into the season and if Stewart could have instead wanted to sign with the Twins. So ultimately it doesn't matter what is happening at A&M it only matters what Stewart wants to do.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      This QB signing does nothing to hurt his leverage. His scholarship is still there. The coaches would still like him if he decided to commit. Ultimately the leverage has always come down to Stewart's desire to attend Texas A&M. They could have 5 of the best QB's waiting in the wings and if Stewart had a scholarship offer and truly wanted to go he could simply say no thanks to the Twins. Or Manziel could have left and Stewart was going to be the de facto starter coming into the season and if Stewart could have instead wanted to sign with the Twins. So ultimately it doesn't matter what is happening at A&M it only matters what Stewart wants to do.
      The scholarship is basically a non-factor. He wouldn't be going to A&M to be a college student. He would be going to A&M to be the starting quarterback with a shot at the NFL. I don't think the new commit matters that much though because Stewart would be a year ahead of him and it isn't a firm commitment.
    1. Einstein's Avatar
      Einstein -
      Here's an interesting tweet by Jim Callis:

      Jim Callis ‏@jimcallisBA I'll say Stewart. @rob_balboni1: who was better coming out of HS into their respective drafts Archie Bradley or Koll Stewart? #mlbdraft

      If you're not aware, Bradley is a RHP drafted number 7 overall by the Diamondbacks in the 2011 draft, he had a scholarship offer to play QB at Oklahoma. He has been phenomenal thus far in the minors. This is pretty high praise by Callis.
      Archie Bradley Minor League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Extremely high praise. I've had a conversation with a scout who said if Archie Bradley was in this draft, he would be the slam-dunk choice at #1.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      The scholarship is basically a non-factor. He wouldn't be going to A&M to be a college student. He would be going to A&M to be the starting quarterback with a shot at the NFL. I don't think the new commit matters that much though because Stewart would be a year ahead of him and it isn't a firm commitment.
      The scholarship is the only factor that matters really. It is what gives him the leverage to say I could go play football if you don't pay me what I'm looking for. Now I don't think he will actually go play for A&M if we draft him at 4. If everything went perfect he could only move up at most 3 picks. That's a lot of risk when you're already guaranteed $4ish million. However, it is the fact that he has a scholarship that let's him hold out for extra money. Not anything that is happening at A&M.

      I know that I was agreeing with much of what you said but I felt my previous post was not particularly clear so I just retyped the whole thing.
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