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Royals sign pitcher Kohl Stewart to a minor league deal

He was once the #4 pick in the draft.

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The Royals announced they have signed right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart to a minor league deal. The 28-year-old did not pitch last year due to an elbow injury. He has pitched parts of three seasons in the big leagues with the Twins and Cubs, posting a 4.88 ERA in 75 2/3 innings with 5.4 strikeouts-per-nine innings.

Stewart was the #4 pick in the 2013 draft out of high school in the Houston area. He put up good numbers in the minors and was a top 50 prospect, and even had a promising debut season with the Twins in 2018, but struggled the next year, and was outrighted off the roster. He opted out of the 2020 season due to health concerns with diabetes and pitched just four games with the Cubs in 2021.

Stewart relies on a sinker and cutter, marking a trend in the minor league free agent acquisitions the Royals have made this off-season. Ryan Yarbrough, who the Royals signed from the Rays, throws a cutter about a third of the time. Mike Mayers, signed to a minor league deal earlier this off-season, also relied on a cutter for success, and Nick Wittgren, who the Royals officially announced to a deal today, also throws a cutter.