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In Draft, Twins stockpile system with pitching

Including No. 4 overall pick Stewart, Minnesota selects 24 hurlers

The Twins have noted time and again, when it comes to the First-Year Player Draft, they will take the best available player.

Luckily for them, what was best available with the No. 4 overall pick was also a happy marriage with their pitching needs: right-hander Kohl Stewart out of St. Pius High School in Houston.

The righty was regarded as the best prep pitcher in the Draft with a 95-mph fastball and a plus slider. In 2013, Stewart went 5-1 with a 0.18 ERA in 40 innings. He also struck out 59 and walked 16.

Despite a commitment to play football at Texas A&M, the Twins said they will sign him -- even Stewart went on the record saying he was excited to be a Twin.

The club continued to fill its needs, taking right-hander Ryan Eades out of Louisiana State University. The 6-foot-3 right-hander is 8-1 with a 2.81 ERA this season.

Before the Draft wrapped, the Twins selected 24 pitchers -- seven lefties and 17 righties.

"We won't sign all of them, we'll sign 15 of them maybe," scouting director Deron Johnson said. "We drafted a lot of pitchers and we're going to sign most of them because as I said Thursday, you can never have enough pitching."

Before going too deep, the Twins used the third round to draft a catcher in Ole Miss's Stuart Turner. Turner is known for his defensive skills with a plus arm and solid receiving skills. While there is a concern about his offensive abilities, Johnson noted that some of the scouts in their organization believe he has the potential to have a little more power than the average hitter.

Minnesota picked up three more catchers over the course of the Draft, as well as five more infielders and seven outfielders.

"This draft wasn't as sexy as last year," Johnson said. "We took a lot of tools and a lot of athletes last year. I think we took more pitching and definitely catchers -- this is probably the most catchers we've ever taken, certainly in the top 10 rounds. But it was a definite need. … We drafted some guys we liked and that's always No. 1."

One noted infielder was third baseman Dustin DeMuth out of Indiana University. Johnson compared the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder to former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie. DeMuth leads the Hoosiers with a .396 ERA with 40 RBIs. Johnson also noted DeMuth has a pretty good swing, but they expect the power to come a little bit later.

The Twins also selected from within their own family, drafting Tanner Vavra 890th overall in the 30th round. Vavra, a second baseman who is blind in one eye, is the son of Minnesota third-base coach Joe Vavra.

Overall, Johnson was pleased with the class, noting its level of competitiveness.

"One thing I like about all the guys we took this year, they all have good make up and they're all good competitors," Johnson said after Day 2.

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for
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