The Twins added to their stable of college pitchers taken in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, selecting right-hander Keaton Steele from the University of Missouri as the No. 230 overall pick in the eighth round on Friday.
It marked the seventh straight time the Twins used a pick on a college pitcher, but Steele is a two-way player, as he led Missouri in homers, wins and saves in 2013. Steele, ranked as the No. 188 overall Draft prospect, is expected to remain as a pitcher, and posted a 3.07 ERA with 56 strikeouts and 18 walks in 67 1/3 innings as a redshirt junior this year. He made 23 relief appearances and three starts with two complete games.
"He went about where I thought he would," MLB.com Draft expert Jim Callis said. "He's athletic. He can throw strikes. I think he can be a starter."
The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 12 p.m. CT.
Steele missed the 2011 season with rotator cuff and labrum tears in his shoulder that required surgery. The 22-year-old bounced back and won the Most Outstanding Player honor at the Junior College World Series, leading Iowa Western to the title in '12.
Steele transferred to Missouri before last season, and he focused mostly on pitching this spring. Steele has a fastball that sits in the low-90s and can touch 96 mph, and possesses a slider that at times can flash plus. He'll need to work on his changeup if he wants to remain a starter as he was late in the year for Missouri.
"We liked him as a starter," Twins scouting director Deron Johnson said. "He throws strikes and has a good mix. So we thought that was a good pick there. He's also a good makeup kid."
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder already graduated from Missouri with a degree in sociology. He's expected to sign as a result after turning down the Rays as a 29th-rounder in 2012 and the Royals as a 40th-rounder last year.