Twins take high schooler in draft

Published 10:12pm Sunday, June 9, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins selected Texas high-school pitcher Kohl Stewart with the fourth pick in the Major League Baseball draft on Thursday.

Stewart is a 6-foot-3 right-hander who also has a scholarship to play quarterback at Texas A&M, but indicated on a conference call that he’ll pass on football to sign with the Twins.

“Obviously, the Twins picked me and they expect me to sign,” Stewart said. “I’m not going to say 100 percent for sure, but I look forward to being in the Twins organization.”

If Stewart signs with Minnesota, he would likely receive a signing bonus worth about of $4.5 million, which is the slot for the fourth pick in this year’s draft.

Minnesota scouted Stewart extensively throughout his senior season at St. Pius X High School, and fell in love with his mid-90s fastball and never-give-in attitude.

“Tremendous competitor. Fierce competitor,” Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. “Not to put any undue pressure on the kid, but he’s got the ability to be just as good as the guys picked ahead of him.”

Stewart was watching the draft with 75-100 friends and family at his family’s home near Houston when bad weather knocked out the satellite signal before the Twins’ pick.

“A couple people pulled it up on their phones and I saw the Twins picked me,” Stewart said. “One of the craziest feelings I’ve ever felt. I look forward to being a Twin.”

Besides the fastball, Stewart throws a sharp slider and has a curveball and change-up that could also develop into plus pitches. He also added about 20 pounds to his frame over the last year.

“For a guy that is a dual sport athlete, he didn’t spend a ton of time on the mound last summer,” Johnson said “But he’s got a very good working warm. His delivery is pretty good as well.”

Stewart had a 0.18 ERA his senior season and said he’s working on a sinker.

“I’m really comfortable throwing any pitch in any count,” he said. “I need to work on my slider inside to righties, that’s one thing I need to work on commanding better.”