Acquired: 2012 Draft, 9th Round
Ranking History: N/A
After a solid career at Stanford, Stewart was a ninth round pick of the Tigers last June, signing shortly after the draft was completed and playing in 63 games for short-season Connecticut.
With just a .218 batting average, Stewart didn't blow anyone away with his performance, but he did show some intriguing ability with eleven doubles and seven home runs, on top of eleven stolen bases.
Stewart is a very good athlete, even after "losing" some of his athleticism in three years at Stanford. He has a physical presence the first time you see him, with a strong, athletic build.
His athleticism plays very well in center field where he shows outstanding instincts and a great natural feel for the position. He is rarely out of position and rarely takes a poor read on balls in any part of the outfield. He is easily an above-average center fielder, with some scouts believing he deserves higher marks than that.
In addition to his personal defensive abilities, Stewart is an exceptional leader in the outfield. He takes charge of the group and commands the play in the gaps, eliminating communication errors and misplays. His arm is an above-average tool as well.
Stewart has the knowledge of the strike zone to put together quality at-bats, but he gets over-eager and takes himself out of at-bats. His swing isn't the most fluid in the world, earning descriptors like "stiff" and "stilted" from scouts. His barrel control needs significant improvement, as even when he does wait for pitches he can drive, he has difficulty making solid contact on a routine basis.
Stewart's swing has strength in it and it has the potential to pile up doubles and also show some over-the-fence power at times.
Barring a complete shift in his offensive approach and a dramatic improvement in his natural feel for the barrel, Stewart profiles more as a very good defensive fourth outfielder that can provide some pop to the bottom of the lineup.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% SS-A
Stewart has dealt with a few minor injuries throughout his career, including a small back issue and a tweaked knee last spring. He has not had any major injuries to date.
With a polished offensive game and good on-field leadership abilities, there is nothing preventing Stewart from receiving a full-season assignment to start 2013. While West Michigan is a likely destination, there is little standing in the way of Stewart moving quickly to High-A Lakeland.
With a limited ceiling, Stewart could be pushed aggressively through the system with a target of him getting to the upper levels quickly, knowing in advance what his long term role will be. Stewart could be on the radar to help off the bench in Detroit about the time Torii Hunter's contract is up after the 2014 season.
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