By Gavin Menu
Kyle McGowin is climbing up the baseball ladder, and is doing so rather quickly.
The Sag Harbor native and right hander out of Savannah State University was called up last month to pitch for the Arkansas Travelers, the Double A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. One year removed from being selected in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft, McGowin, 22, has traveled from the rookie league, to Single A and now Double A, where top prospects often jump directly to the Major League level.
McGowin learned about his promotion on May 21 in true minor league fashion—standing in the dugout after pitching six solid innings for the Inland Empire 66ers, the Angels’ Class A Advanced affiliate based in San Bernadino, California. McGowin had been pitching since early this spring.
“We got home around 11 p.m. that night and had to leave for the airport at 4 a.m. the next morning,” said McGowin, who was named the Angels most valuable farm player for the month of April after posting a 1.91 ERA over 33 innings while striking out 26. “My car is still out there and so is a lot of my stuff. It was pretty much ‘Grab your clothes and a couple of pairs of shoes and get going.’”
On May 26, McGowin made his debut for the Travelers, who are based in Little Rock and compete in the Texas League, allowing six hits and three earned runs over six innings. He left the game with soreness in his elbow and has been on the 7-day disabled list ever since.
“I felt good yesterday, so hopefully I’ll be back and ready to go for my next start,” McGowin said on Monday. “You can always go back to Single A if you’re struggling, but they told me if I keep doing what I’m doing, I should be fine.”
Those who follow the Angels’ minor league system closely have taken notice of McGowin. A recent post on halosheaven.com, a site dedicated to the Angels organization, said McGowin “features a low 90′s two-seam and four-seam fastball (90-93 mph according to the announcer’s gun readings this April), a slider that flashes plus, and a change-up in progress that’s presently useable if not overpowering….And all while making the difficult jump from 2013 draftee to Cal League starter within nine months. Impressive.”
“I think McGowin is destined for a swing role in the majors,” the post continued, “though he seems a pretty safe bet to see big league time at some point.”
A few days after arriving in Little Rock, McGowin’s new roommate, Cam Bedrosian, a fellow 22 year-old right hander, was called up to the big leagues. McGowin said he would take it day by day with hopes his name one day gets called in a similar fashion.
“Any chance you can make it to Double A in your first year, you’re definitely doing something right,” he said. “As long as I stick to my plan I had in California, I should be fine.”