Thursday, June 20, 2013

Signing the high school pitchers

First-round pick Kohl Stewart talks with veteran Mike
Pelfrey in the Target Field outfield during batting practice
Wednesday. Stewart signed with Minnesota Wednesday.
Early Wednesday morning, Peter Gammons tweeted this:

Team physician on amateur P abuse: "Every draft choice we examine has a shoulder or elbow red flag."

Stephen Gonsalves was suspended
for much of his high school season,
he says for trying to cover up
transgressions by teammates.
Later Wednesday, the Twins gambled more than $5 million on a pair of 18-year-old pitchers fresh out of high school.

First-round pick Kohl Stewart (No. 4 overall) got $4.5 million, and fourth-rounder Stephen Gonsalves $700,000 — well above the allotted slot for the 110th overall pick, but less than he figured to get earlier this year, when he was viewed as a likely first-round selection.

They are, without a doubt, talented arms. But they're immature arms, and there's a big gap between high school ball and the major leagues. Pitchers get hurt, and talented young pitchers are particularly at risk because it's so easy, and tempting, to overuse them.

On Wednesday Stewart and Gonsalves signed their contracts, shagged balls during batting practice, hung out in the clubhouse. Today they head to Fort Myers, Fla., to begin the long and difficult process of turning their talents into big league skills.

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