At the ripe age of 32, Brock Stewart is experiencing a breakout season. Stewart had not pitched in the major leagues since 2019, toiling in the minor leagues with little success. Besides a briefly successful season in 2017, where he pitched to a 3.41 ERA in 34.1 innings, Stewart was a mildly successful big leaguer. After two elbow surgeries and a rough 2022 in the Twins' minor leagues, Stewart burst onto the big league scene in 2023.
Working with Tread Athletics, a remote player development company based in North Carolina, Stewart is now throwing the ball harder than ever. Tread has expanded their stardom in recent seasons, working with Clay Holmes and Mitch Keller, amongst many others. Stewart now averages 97.3 mph on his fastball, up almost six miles per hour from his 2019 average. Even Stewart's cutter, at 93.3 mph, is harder than his average fastball from 2019.
Check out some of his dominance this season here.
Stewart ended the 2023 season with a 0.65 ERA in 27.2 innings, striking out 35.8 percent of the batters he faced, nearly doubling his career high. In the biggest spot of the Twins' season, Stewart was called on to preserve a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning of a potential series clinching victory. Stewart struck out Daulton Varsho, induced a flyout from George Springer, and struck out Brandon Belt for a dominant inning.
Stewart's performance in the seventh inning is exactly what the Twins will look for as they continue to play in the postseason. His 41.5 percent whiff rate is nearly 17 percent above the league average whiff rate, which is an important statistic for postseason success. Strikeouts are magnified on the bigger stage, and having a weapon like Stewart is a key aspect to victory.
Of course, if this were a movie, the 2023 postseason would end with the Twins securing a World Series victory, and carrying Stewart, who of course recorded the final out, off the field on their shoulders. Until then, Stewart and the Twins are a formidable foe for other playoff teams.