La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins select pitchers Stewart and Eades on Day One of MLB draft

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III under Vikings draft Updated: June 6, 2013 - 10:35 PM

UPDATE: The Twins took two pitchers on the first day of the 2013 MLB draft.

The Twins also went for pitching with their second-round pick, selecting LSU righthander Ryan Eades.

Eades was 8-1 with a 2.81 ERA this season for the Tigers. His fastball ranges from 90-95 miles an hour and also has a hard breaking ball.

He's been healthy throughout his college career, but needed labrum surgery while he was in high school. Baseball American has him listed as the 37th best prospect in the draft.

The draft resumes with rounds 3-10 at noon tomorrow.

Here's BA's take on Edes:

Eades doesn't pitch Fridays like most potential college first-round picks, but that's more a testament to sophomore righthander Aaron Nola, a potential top 10 pick in 2014. Scouts are watching to see if Eades loses steam down the stretch as he did last season, and they've been watching Eades for a while. He was hitting 94 mph as a 16-year-old, then injured his shoulder when he was a prep junior. He had labrum surgery and missed his senior season but has been healthy all three years at Louisiana State. He has an athletic 6-foot-3, 198-pound frame and looks the part of a frontline starter, running his four-seamer up to 90-95 mph and adding a two-seamer this year to get more early-count contact. He's honed his breaking ball into a power curveball that scrapes the low 80s, and has improved his changeup under the tutelage of pitching coach Alan Dunn, a longtime pro pitching coach. Eades grades out better than he's performed, though he has improved his strikeout rate from 6.0 strikeouts per nine innings to 8 K/9 IP as a junior. Eades tends to miss armside and high when he leaks out on his front side or gets fatigued, but his strong work ethic has reduced that in 2013. He slots into the 20-40 range on most teams' draft boards but could go higher with a strong finish. 

Here's a story about Edes

MLB.com had Eades ranked 29th:

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 6/7 | Curve: 4/5 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 5/6

 

Eades is everything you want from a pitcher: size, stuff and feel for pitching.

A Cape Cod League All-Star back in 2011, Eades pitched in LSU's rotation last year and helped anchor it as the Saturday starter in 2013. He'll hit 94 mph with his fastball, and he has a good curve and changeup to go along with it to give him a good three-pitch mix that he knows how to use effectively.

There is some question about his arm action, but the real concern might be about his medical record. Eades had labrum surgery as a senior in high school and any team interested in him in June will have to be convinced of his durability.

The Cape Cod Pitcher of the Year in 2011 didn't go back there in 2012, resting up to try and improve on his sophomore season that saw him go 5-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts for LSU.


 

Kohl Stewart, RHP

The Twins have selected righthander Kohl Stewart, a two-sport star out of the St. Pius XX high school in Houston, Texas.

Stewart had been linked to the Twins for several weeks, and his selection seemed a formality as the first three picks were righthander Mark Appel (Astros), third baseman Kris Bryant (Cubs) and righthander Jonathan Gray (Rockies).

The Twins have been in discussions with Stewart's advisers over a bonus and are confident that they are in range of a deal. There had been reports that negations weren't going smoothly on Thursday.

Stewart, on his twitter account, wrote: ``WHAT'S UP TWIN NATION!''

He made eight starts for St. Pius X high school in Houston, going 5-1 with a 0.18 ERA. In 40 innings he struck out 59 and walked 16.  He was named Texas All-Region First-Team in 2013.  In 2012, as a junior, the right-hander went 8-0 with 72 strikeouts in 54.0 innings pitched, helping guide St. Pius to the TAPPS 5A Title.

The righthander said about 75-100 people filled his house for the draft announcement - but a storm knocked out the television feed. They had to call up the draft on smartphones to pick up the draft, and the house erupted when his named was called.

``It was unbelieveable,'' Stewart said. ``It was one of the crazier feelings I've ever had. A real exciting time in my house.''

Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said Stewart was their man all along. The Twins expected Appel, Bryant and Gray to go somewhere among the top three spots, and had Stewart in their crosshairs.

``He was the best player on the board left for us,'' Johnson said.

Stewart has a fastball in the 92-94 range and a slider that tops out at 88-89 miles an hour. Johnson said Stewart started throwing a curveball last year and it comes out of his hand naturally.

``He has the ability to be just as good as the guy drafted in front of him,'' Johnson said.

Stewart said he has to work to do. He wants to throw his slider in on righthanded hitters better and he's working on a sinker. But leaving football-crazed Texas to focus on baseball will allow him to perfect his pitches.

``I look forward to being able to sit down and focus on baseball for once,'' he said. ``I'm looking forward to focusing on one thing.''

Here's what Baseball America wrote up about Stewart:

A premium football recruit as a quarterback, Stewart passed for 8,803 yards and 87 touchdowns in three high school seasons before committing to play two sports at Texas A&M. It's unlikely he'll ever play for the Aggies because he's the top high school pitcher in the draft. He may not get the No. 1 overall pick buzz of righthanders Jonathan Gray (Oklahoma) and Mark Appel (Stanford), but one scouting director said, "Stewart's pure stuff is as good as theirs, and he's more athletic than they are." Scouts love the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder's arsenal, athleticism and competitiveness. They say that he has better present stuff than Jameson Taillon did when the Pirates took the suburban Houston righthander No. 2 overall in 2010. Stewart has boosted his fastball from 88-93 mph last summer to 91-96 for much of the spring, though his velocity tails off at times in the later innings. His life and command with his heater make it even more dominating, but his best offering is a power mid-80s slider with tilt. He has improved his curveball and shows feel for his changeup, and he'll display four above-average big league pitches at times. He has a clean delivery and should get even better once he concentrates solely on baseball. Stewart has been limited at times this spring because of minor shoulder (a carryover from football), hamstring and thumb ailments, but none is a major concern. Neither is his signability, because he'll get picked early enough to be paid handsomely and teams don't believe he'll go to Texas A&M to sit behind reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Some clubs could shy away from Stewart because he's a Type 1 diabetic, though Brandon Morrow went fifth overall in 2006 with the same condition. Stewart should go in the same range this June.

Now go wash some clothes or run some errands. The Twins's next pick comes in the second round, No. 43 overall.

 

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