Another pitcher that has been invited to Big League Camp, this is a tall pitcher who wasn’t effective as a starter, but has been very good as a reliever. This flamethrower came from D2 Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.
RHP Kevin McGowan
R/R, 6’5″ 235 lbs, 10/18/1991 (25), Drafted in the 13th round of the 2013 draft (386th overall) out of Franklin Pierce University.
Mets seem to love their smaller schools, and Franklin Pierce is one of those colleges that the Mets seem to return to a lot. Of the 28 players that have been drafted out of the New Hampshire Division II Franklin Pierce (none drafted before 2001), the Mets have drafted three and they were all in the last three years. This included McGowan and Zach Mathieu in 2013 and Jay Jabs in the 2016 Draft. Sadly, Franklin Pierce has had only one big leaguer in their history, the Diamondbacks’ Lefty Steve Hathaway, who has pitched in 24 games to a 4.91 ERA. McGowan may be the first guy to break the mold and become an effective pitcher.
As a starter, McGowan was ineffective. As a starter McGowan had decent stuff, throwing 88-92, and touching 95 while having a nice, heavy sink on the fastball. His slider and change came in as below average. His control, however was a huge problem, as he would post constant walks per 9 in the high 3’s. Often times with big-bodied pitchers, there are moving parts in the delivery that don’t allow them to repeat their mechanics well and make them have a hard time keeping their control. McGowan was one of those guys, unable to keep control, so he was converted to relief.
As a reliever, his stuff improved. His velocity jumped to sitting in the mid-90’s and touching 97/98 at times. His Slider has improved too, flashing above-average. McGowan for the first time this past year started striking out more players than inducing ground balls, which are the bulk of his outs. In fact, since going pro, McGowan’s batted ball breakdown shows that of the 1127 balls hit into play, 517 (45.87%) were ground balls. McGowan also has a changeup that was had some fanfare at the time of his draft, but I haven’t heard much on that lately.
We’ll see much more of him in the next month before he’s dropped to minor league camp and then is in Triple-A Las Vegas’s bullpen.
(Photo by Baseball Essential)
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