Stewart joins UNLV's John Richy and Washington's Jeff Brigham as a trio of college right-handers taken on Day 2 of the Draft, but unlike them, Stewart is fairly new to the mound.
"I just actually got into pitching within a year," Stewart said. "I came to school last fall, and I always knew my arm was my best tool, so I talked with our pitching coach at school, and I realized I might as well try pitching. After the fall, I knew there was some interest there with scouts and teams."
Stewart compiled a 3-2 record with a 2.36 ERA in 11 appearances (one start) this season for the Redbirds. Stewart struck out 30 batters in 26 2/3 innings, relying on a fastball-changeup-slider mix. In his lone collegiate start, Stewart sent Illinois State to the Missouri Valley Conference title game with seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball against Wichita State. Also an infielder for the Redbirds, Stewart hit .238/.317/.396 with four home runs in 164 at-bats this season.
Stewart is the son of former Illinois State baseball coach and current Padres scout Jeff Stewart. He said his father helped him through the process, even telling him where he would've drafted him.
"[He was] dead on, actually," Stewart said. "I think he had me [Rounds] 4-6, which, when he told me that, I couldn't believe it. I just started pitching. I thought there was no way. It turns out that was the case, and I'm very happy about it."
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.