Split Opinions on Ryan Eades

USA TODAY Sports

Why some believe Twins second round pick Ryan Eades can be more useful than others.

Most scouting outlets and draft gurus agreed well in advance of the 2013 draft that Kohl Stewart was the likely pick for the Twins at No. 4, and there were few who thought it to be anything other than a great pick. Stewart is the best high school pitcher in the country, a tremendous two-sport athlete and has ace upside if his development goes well.

There was less agreement on the Twins' second pick, Ryan Eades, and what the future had in store for Louisiana State's Saturday starter. Eades ranked as the draft's 29th-best prospect according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, while ESPN's Keith Law had him a whole round's worth of talent lower at No. 59. Baseball America was somewhere in the middle, with Eades ranking 37th on their list.

Baseball America writes that Eades "looks the part of a front-line starter," and Mayo adds that he "has everything you want from a pitcher: size, stuff and feel for pitching." Law, on the other hand, feels that the ceiling for Eades is a league-average starter, partly due to the fact that his breaking pitch "is slurvy at 77-79, lacking the depth of a true curve or the plate-crossing tilt of a true slider." He'd be better off throwing a true curve or true slider, in Law's mind.

Law projects Eades to have average or slightly above-average tools across the board in the future, with the exception of his fastball movement. Mayo, on the other hand, already feels that his fastball is an above-average pitch which projects to be a plus pitch in the future. That leads Mayo to project Eades as a six (on a two to eight scale) in the future -- or above average.

In his recap of the second round, John Sickels called Eades' curve and changeup both "greatly improved," and BA feels that he has "honed his breaking ball into a power curveball that scrapes the low 80s."

Eades reportedly looked the part of a mid-first-rounder early in the season, but a less-than-stellar finish and lack of strikeouts caused him to drop. The worst-case scenario for Eades appears to be the prototypical No. 4 starter the Twins were so famous for a few years ago (Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker prior to 2011). That wouldn't be the worst outcome for the Twins, as a pitcher who could consistently deliver something in the range of a 4.25-4.50 ERA seems like a luxury right now.

It seems like the Twins are betting on Eades' frame and athleticism over his current results. They selected him over a number of comparably ranked college starters, including hometown kid Tom Windle (who went to the Dodgers as the next college pitcher off the board).

It sounds like durability and his breaking pitch will determine if Eades translates into an above-average rotation piece or a back-end starter for the Twins. Myjah noted in her recap of Day 1 that he's already had shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, but that came in high school and he's been healthy since. Eades is some I'll have a great deal of interest in once his pro career starts, though that won't happen immediately with LSU headed to Omaha for the College World Series.

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