BLUF: Crude pitcher with very nice raw tools and a huge risk profile.
The Player: Kohl Stewart (RHP, St. Pius X High School) – One of the elite quarterback recruits in the country, Stewart has committed to play baseball and football at Texas A&M. Through April 22, Stewart had not allowed a run in 22 innings, allowing just seven hits and striking out 28 batters. He is also hitting .380 with ten home runs and 30 RBI.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 195): Long and lean. Highly athletic. Good strength with room for more. Very projectable. Plus-plus body that is mature but still offers physical projection. Ideal pitcher’s frame.
Delivery/Mechanics: Lacks consistency. Landing foot location varies with every pitch, often coming up a little short and varying from side to side. Lower half gets a little quick when descending from the balance point, forcing arm to catch up. Has electric arm speed and can catch up but would be well served to get things in sync. Needs repetition. Very raw mechanically but athletic enough to improve and gain consistency.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 88, Low – 97, Average 92-93, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 88, Low 96, Average 92-93, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Doesn’t blow you away with movement. Jumps out of his hand and appears to get on hitters quickly. Has some arm-side life at times. No visible sink/cut at this time. Doesn’t get squared up against amateur competition. Average movement. Grade – 50/50
Overall Fastball: Good present velo and can reach plus-plus registers when he needs to or in short bursts. Despite remaining physical projection, not a ton of FB projection in the tank. May get more consistent at 92-93 mph and eliminate 88-89 readings from his arsenal. Not great movement but enough to keep him off the barrel. Some potential for velo spike with baseball focus but I’m not willing to project that at this time. Good quality pitch that should flash a half-tick better than plus at his peak. Grade – 60/60
Slider (SL): Best and most consistent pitch at present. Really snaps it off well, generating tight spin and good deception. Throws it from similar arm slot as FB, aiding disguise. Good bite and tilt to the pitch. Consistent plus grades with more projection than FB because the deception could increase as he gains consistency with his arm slot/release point. Grade – 60/70
Change-up (CH): Poor pitch. Has not needed it in high school and needs considerable work. Shows occasional feel but generally lacks trust and overthrows CH. Well below-average and in need of multiple grade jumps. Average projection is difficult given current crudeness. Grade – 30/40
Control: Much more of a thrower than a pitcher. Struggles to make in-game adjustments, largely due to lack of experience. Mechanics have inconsistencies, resulting in well below-average control. Misses high and to the glove side frequently because of a failure to follow through. Will overcorrect and pull the ball down and to the glove side. Can get back on track throwing strikes by throwing SL at times. Has control projection because of athleticism and general athletic aptitude. Should get there quickly with focus on baseball and while multiple grade jumps are aggressive, reason for optimism is strong. Grade – 30/60
Command: No ability to command FB or secondary pitches at present. Needs considerable work on delivery and overall control before command is even addressed. Has athleticism to project for command down the line. Could take 2-3 years of pro instruction before command begins to enter the picture. Average command is relatively safe projection but truly could go anywhere from here. Grade – 20/50
Summation: Really intriguing arm. Natural athletic gifts evident with multi-sport scholarship opportunities at Texas A&M. Needs baseball focus if he is to approach ceiling. Intense competitor with excellent makeup. Present plus velocity and occasionally shows projection for more velocity. Already has good strength so additional velocity would come from improved mechanical consistency and additional arm strength from a more focused professional throwing program. SL has outstanding potential; bat missing pitch. CH is very crude and needs considerable work as a pro. Has the arm speed to provide deception if he can trust CH and gain feel for the pitch. Thrower that needs to learn how to pitch and control his arsenal. Command projection is way out in the future but athleticism gives hope. Raw ingredients to become a number two or three starter if everything clicks. Huge risk associated with him because he is so raw and there are unknowns with the developmental path once he focuses on baseball. Boom or bust type.
Relative Risk: High. Very raw. Needs considerable innings and focus on baseball for raw tools to begin translating. Could be a slow developmental path.
Draft Projection: Arguably the top prep pitcher in this year’s class. Has quality present stuff and projection both physically and within deficient parts of his game. The minor shoulder injury he suffered during football season may cause some teams to pause as the draft approaches, but he should still go off the board anywhere in the 5-15 range.