The Twins are set to select the contract of right-hander Brock Stewart, MLBTR has confirmed. Jeremy Maschino first suggested that Stewart could be on his way to join the Twins’ big league club today. They’ll need to make a 40-man roster move to accommodate Stewart’s addition, though they have at least one on-paper candidate for the 60-day injured list, as right-hander Ronny Henriquez has spent the entire season on the 15-day injured list due to an elbow issue and has yet to throw a pitch.
This will be the first MLB stint for the 31-year-old Stewart since 2019, when he tossed 25 2/3 innings between the Dodgers and the Blue Jays. He didn’t pitch in 2020 due to the canceled minor league season, and Tommy John surgery plus a second procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow wiped out most of his 2021-22 seasons. Stewart made it back to a minor league mound with the Twins late in the ’22 season but struggled across three levels, allowing 10 earned runs in 14 innings.
The 2023 season has been a much different story thus far. He’s blitzed out of the gate with a 2.08 ERA and gaudy 48.6% strikeout rate in 8 2/3 innings, walking just 5.7% of his opponents. Stewart’s raw 17-to-2 K/BB ratio is intriguing, even in a small sample at the Triple-A level, particularly since he’s added considerable velocity in recent years. Stewart averaged 92.8 mph on his four-seamer during his 2016-19 run with Los Angeles and Toronto but has since moved to short relief stints and ramped that velocity into the upper 90s. In addition to that massive strikeout rate, he’s also sporting an enormous 22.1% swinging-strike rate in St. Paul.
The back end of the Twins’ bullpen has been outstanding thus far, as closer Jhoan Duran and setup men Jorge Lopez, Griffin Jax and Caleb Thielbar are all out to strong starts. It’s been far shakier after that quartet, with righty Emilio Pagan and lefty Jovani Moran both sporting early ERAs that begin with a seven. Twins starters rank second in the Majors in innings pitched so far — a remarkable change of course from the 2022 season — so they haven’t had to lean too heavily on the arms in their middle relief corps. Still, the front office and manager Rocco Baldelli would surely prefer a deeper supply of reliable arms, and at least based on his early output in St. Paul, Stewart could potentially give them another hard-throwing, bat-missing arm to help stabilize the group. Stewart is out of minor league options, so he’ll need to stick on the Twins’ big league roster or else be passed through waivers before he can return to Triple-A.
Ober headed back to St Paul?
Was sent back the other day
I think Ober going down is the corresponding move here. The latest pitching turnover, IIRC, has been:
– Alcalá sent down, opening a spot for Woods Richardson
– Woods Richardson sent down after a loooong relief appearance, opening a spot for Ober to make a spot start
– Ober now sent down since, with Maeda healthy, they have 5 starters ready to go.
All this has happened in a short enough time frame that Alcalá and SWR aren’t eligible to come back up unless there’s an injury; thus, Stewart.
Return of the Brock Star!
The next guy thrown to the wolves due to underwhelming bullpen even though the starters have been on longer leashes.
Underwhelming bullpen? Duran, Thielbar, Lopez, and Jax is as good as anyone in baseball. Even Pagan’s numbers are bloated – he filled in for Maeda in a short start and got knocked around but has otherwise looked good.
There’s room for improving the back end but it’s not a bad pen.
Maschino busted that cherry on the news of Stewart’s call up.
This is a wonderful story. I am so happy for Brock. Wishing him good health moving forward as his talent, tenacity and work ethic are all tremendous!!