Twins take Texas high school pitcher Kohl Stewart with No. 4 pick
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Leading up to the MLB first-year player draft, the Minnesota Twins repeatedly expressed their intention to make pitching a major focus.
The Twins set the tone for following through on that promise on Thursday by selecting Kohl Stewart, a right-handed pitcher out of St. Pius X High School in Texas, with the No. 4 overall pick. In the second round, Stewart was joined by a fellow right-hander when the Twins picked up Louisiana State University's Ryan Eades with the 43rd overall selection.
Stewart is a hard-throwing pitcher, with a fastball that clocks in around the low-90s and a high 80s slider. Named the 2013 Gatorade Texas high school player of the year, Stewart posted a 5-1 record and an 0.18 ERA with St. Pius.
"I'm speechless, really," Stewart said in an interview on 1500ESPN's Tom Pelissero Show shortly after the pick was made. "I can't wait to work my butt off for the Minnesota Twins in any way that I can."
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound 18 year old has a scholarship to play quarterback at Texas A&M next season, and now must decide whether or not to forgo that offer to join the Twins. It is widely assumed Stewart will choose to play baseball right away, but the Texas native has not fully declared his intentions publicly.
Stewart said he would be in contact with Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin "soon" to discuss his final decision.
As a dual-sport athlete in Texas, football drew a large amount of Stewart's focus in high school. But his long-term potential, and chance at a larger payout, seems to be higher in baseball.
"There's a time and place for (that decision)," Stewart said. "I don't think the Twins would have picked me if there was any doubt in my mind, but when the time comes for me to officially announce where I'm headed and all of that stuff, I think there is a proper way of doing things and I'll be in touch with them soon."
Stanford right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, who was selected by Pittsburgh at No. 8 in 2012 before opting to return for his senior season at Palo Alto, was taken by the Houston Astros with No. 1 overall pick.
The Cubs, owners of the No. 2 pick, surprised a few onlookers by choosing University of San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant over right-hander Jonathan Gray (Oklahoma). Gray went one pick later to the Colorado Rockies.
Rounds 3-10 are set for Friday, and the draft will conclude Saturday with Rounds 11-40.