|Kohl Stewart delivers Friday against the|
Clinton LumberKings. (Photo by
Cedar Rapids blogger "Jim Crikket" warned me on Thursday: Stewart is kept on a tight pitch count and thus doesn't often work deep into games. (The same is true of the other teenager in the Kernels rotation, Lewis Thorpe, who I will not see pitch on this trip.)
The limits show in Stewart's record: He averages less than five innings a start, which makes it very difficult to pick up the win. His ERA is 2.58, but his won-loss record is 2-5; you can get a loss in a four-inning start, but you can't get a win.
He had no problems with the limits Friday. Stewart went six innings, allowing one run on six hits. He didn't walk anybody, and struck out five.
He has a very compact delivery; even in the windup, the right knee doesn't come close to waist level, and the hands don't rise above the chest. There's even less motion in the stretch; the slide step seems to come naturally to him.
|Nick Burdi's is a maximum-effort delivery.|
Notice the back leg kick in his follow-
through. (Photo by Linda Vanderwerf).
He got eight outs on ground balls, five on outfield flies and five on strikeouts. One of the hits off him came on a bunt. He made a very nice defensive play himself, coming off the mound to field a tapper on a short hop and take it to first himself for the out.
Another pitcher I was hoping to see got the ball for the ninth inning: Nick Burdi, the Twins' second-round pick in last month's draft. He threw 12 pitches Friday and struck out the side. I recorded the speed on the park scoreboard for each pitch:
93, 97, 97, 88 (strikeout); 98, 96, 97, 89 (strikeout); 95, 89, 97, 96 (strikeout). Overwhelming stuff, to be sure, with the three high-80s offerings being wicked sliders. I don't think the three hitters Burdi faced even mustered a foul ball.
The word on Burdi around draft time was that he could be fast-tracked to the majors. I sure didn't see anything to contradict that assessment. It's not likely that the Twins would do that, but they could.