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Right-handed pitcher Jordan Stewart is one of the newest members of the Rangers organization.
Stewart, a fifth-year senior from Avila University in Kansas City, was signed by the Rangers after completing his final collegiate season. Teams are able to sign fifth-year seniors to free agent contracts as long as their team’s season ends before the May 30 deadline.
A native of San Luis Obispo, California, Stewart’s road to the professional ranks was not an easy one.
“I redshirted at Cuesta College in my hometown of San Luis Obispo,” said Stewart. “Then I went to Santa Barbara City College and played one year.”
The story of how the Californian ended up at a small NAIA school in Missouri is an interesting one.
“I just got lucky,” said Stewart of ending up at Avila. “I was out of baseball for awhile after having surgery on my ankle. I got a shot after one of my old roommates that was in Kansas City called me up.”
Though he has officially become a professional baseball player, Stewart had never thought much about playing in the minor leagues.
“I didn’t really think about going to the next level,” explained Stewart. “I was just happy to be playing and getting my education. Luckily this is what happened.”
The 6-foot-1 reliever was one of the premier closers in all of NAIA baseball, finishing his three-year career with a 2.34 ERA and 29 saves. Playing for the Santa Maria Indians in the California Collegiate League last summer, the righty had a 4.05 ERA and led the team with five saves. He held opposing hitters to a .233 average.
A sidearmer, Stewart works with a three-pitch repertoire.
“I throw a sinking fastball, a slider, and a changeup,” said Stewart. “My best pitch is my fastball. It typically runs between 88 to 91 miles per hour.”
While Stewart was playing his senior season with the Eagles, he was unaware that the Rangers were targeting him.
“I had no idea,” said Stewart. “They just came out of the blue and they were there throughout the whole process.”
Stewart says that he was also pursued by the Marlins, Phillies, and Indians.
After arriving at the club’s spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona, on May 30, Stewart says he must work before joining one of the organization’s minor league clubs.
“I’ll probably stay down here in Surprise for awhile,” he said. “I have to get back in shape because I took about two weeks off after my college season.”
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