With Tanner Roark tending to important family matters on Wednesday, youngster Kyle McGowin will get his chance to impress with the Washington Nationals.
As Tanner Roark heads back home to his family this week, the Washington Nationals will get an extended look at Kyle McGowin. He starts Wednesday’s game against the Miami Marlins and has a chance to leave his mark.
The lanky right-hander was acquired by the Nats along with Austin Adams in the trade that sent Danny Espinosa to the LA Angels. At the time McGowin was ranked the 20th best prospect in the Angels system and now it appears he’s ready to reward the Nats for the deal.
While Juan Soto takes the cake for the quickest rise through the system, McGowin is a close second. He started the year down in High-A with the Potomac Nationals and breezed through the upper levels to make his major league debut this month.
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While McGowin doesn’t possess particularly fearsome stuff, he makes his living by pitching cleverly, rather than blowing people away. Across the three top minor league levels, he posted a 2.80 ERA with an impressive 9.7 K/9 and a 2.0 BB/9 showcasing impressive command and control.
Adam McInturff of 2080 baseball notes that his fastball sits in the lower 90s, with a slider and changeup that he mixes in quite frequently to keep hitters off balance at the plate. While he may never profile as a top-half of the rotation starter, we’ve seen several pitchers use guile and command to become successful at the big league level.
He couldn’t have asked for a better team to make his major league debut against too, as the Marlins have the lowest scoring offense in baseball this season. Coupled with the fact that it’s a late September game in a lost season, and all the pressure is off McGowin, giving him the chance to simply pitch and hopefully, leave a positive impression on the coaching staff and front office.
While it’s probably too late for McGowin to win a 2019 rotation spot with his performance, he could look to make himself one of the first call-ups due to injury next year. As someone who has only made eight appearances in Triple-A, he’ll definitely need a bit more seasoning in the minors next season. This seasoning may need to come at Double-A Harrisburg though, due to the geographical issues with their new Triple-A affiliate.
One of the major downfalls in this season has been the inability to bring up effective starting pitching when injuries strike. So if McGowin can prove himself at the very least a serviceable option as a starter in this outing, it could do the team a world of good in the long-run.
It’s an unexpected opportunity for Kyle McGowin to get his first big league start this September for the Washington Nationals. It’s a chance for him to leave management with a positive first impression of what they saw.