By Gavin Menu
Pierson alum Kyle McGowin has spent the last three weeks working out in Tempe, Arizona at the spring training complex of the Los Angeles Angels, the Major League Baseball club that drafted McGowin in the fifth round of last year’s draft.
McGowin, 22, on Tuesday said he would be in Tempe through early April, at which point he will most likely report to one of two minor league locations to play Class A ball.
The Angels’ Class-A Advanced affiliate, the Inland Empire 66ers, is based in San Bernardino, California, which is where McGowin is hoping to end up. The other possibility, he said, would be an assignment to play for the Class A Burlington Bees in Eastern Iowa.
“Right now I’m learning the ropes,” said McGowin, who pitched for the Angels’ Rookie League team, the Orem Owlz, last spring. “Last year was more of a learning phase. Now it’s pretty much a tryout.”
After a standout career at Savannah State University, the 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher was taken by the Angels with the 157th pick in the draft. Pitching with the Owlz in Utah last season, he threw 14.1 innings and compiled a 1-1 record, with a 6.28 ERA. Scouts were impressed with his fastball, which consistently reaches the low-90s, but have also expressed concern over his control.
“I feel like I’m definitely improving,” McGowin said. “My command is getting a lot better.”
According to the blog Monkey with a Halo, which covers prospects within the Angels organization, McGowin’s fastball goes beyond just speed.
“McGowin has a sharp fastball that absolutely explodes out of his hand and has excellent run on it,” the blog reads. “ It sits around 91-92 but because of the movement and his delivery, the ball shows specific ability to climb on hitters faster than most. In essence his 91-92 mph fastball has about the same effectiveness as a mid-90’s heater.”
McGowin on Tuesday said he is happy with his progress and is enjoying his time in Arizona.
“I feel like I’m getting a lot stronger, especially after training a lot in the winter at Studio 89,” McGowin said, referring to the training facility in Sag Harbor.
McGowin said that so far at spring training he has largely focused on strength and conditioning, with heavy throwing sessions in the bullpen. His first chance at game action will be today, March 13.