Pitchers and catchers were the primary theme for the Twins in this year's draft, and the top two high school arms that they selected are in Minnesota to take the first step of their pro career.
Both right-hander Kohl Stewart and left-hander Stephen Gonsalves are in Minnesota with the intent to sign. Stewart and Gonsalves have both tweeted that they're in the Twin Cities, and La Velle E. Neal wrote on Sunday that an announcement of Stewart's signing could come as soon as today. Gonsalves told a friend on Twitter that he'll be signing while here and then heading down to Fort Myers.
Stewart was selected fourth overall in the draft, while Gonsalves came off the board 106 spots later at No. 110. That's right where Baseball America ranked him on their Top 500 (No. 107), and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo had him ranked 98th on his own Top 100. ESPN's Keith Law disagreed quite adamantly, stating in a June 7 chat that he "didn't get" the Twins' selection of Gonsalves in the fourth round, adding that he's "not projectable" and has "no breaking ball."
Mayo and BA, meanwhile, specifically cite Gonsalves' projectability as his best feature in their write-ups and scouting reports. Mayo wrote that Gonsalves has the upside to be the best of a "pretty decent class of prep southpaws," praising his 88-91 mph fastball and noting that he touched 93 at one point. Baseball America went so far as to say Gonsalves' projection is the very thing that makes him attractive, as he has "a long way to go" due to his below-average curveball and lack of a changeup. John Sickels noted after the draft that Gonsalves at one point had first-round buzz, but a sub-par Spring derailed that concept.
I don't mind one bit the Twins going after an 18-year-old lefty that's a bit of a wild card with their fourth-round pick. Baseball America, John Sickels and Jonathan Mayo all noted that he had first-round potential but didn't live up to that hype over the past few months. Frankly, that's the type of gamble that I'm excited to see the Twins make. If they feel that they can develop a changeup for Gonsalves, they could have themselves a terrific fourth-inning find. His velocity isn't overpowering, but velocity isn't as crucial from the left side in pitchers.
The Twins only grabbed two high school pitchers in the first 26 rounds of the draft, so it seems fair to deduce that they were particularly high on these specific arms. In Stewart's case that's not much of a surprise, as he was the top-ranked high school arm in the country. Gonsalves sounds like he's far from a sure thing, but the upside is nice. And given that both are here in the Twin Cities, it shouldn't be long before we start to hear plenty more about their pro careers.