MWAH 2014 Angels Prospects Countdown #28: Kyle McGowin

The Angels are no stranger to drafting college pitchers over the last few years, but in Kyle McGowin, the Halos are finally showing themselves to be a bit more willing to take risks.

Kyle McGowin
Position: SP    Highest Level: Rookie
Bats: R    Throws: R    Height: 6'3"    Weight: 180
Age: 22    Born: 11/27/1992
2013 Rank: Unranked

2013 Season Stats
Rookie (Orem): 14.1 IP, 1-1, 6.28 ERA, 12 H, 5 BB, 2 HR, 12 SO, 4.60 FIP, .244 BABIP


= B+
McGowin has a sharp fastball that absolutely explodes out of his hand and has excellent run on it.  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.

Offspeed Pitches = B
McGowin has a curveball/slider that is definitely plus, bordering on what would be classified plus-plus, which is scout-language for amazing.  The reason I call it a curve/slider is because I’m honestly not sure what it is, but I know there’s a tremendous amount of break in the pitch and that it is extraordinarily effective and classified as a swing and miss pitch.  McGowin also has a good change up that shows some depth to it but there’s trouble keeping it in the zone.

Control = C
The strike zone isn’t completely lost on him in his first taste as a professional.

Command = D
Though McGowin kept the ball in the zone, he didn’t seem to be able to locate his pitches as much as he’d like to.  He had specific trouble keeping his ball down, as it was left up in the zone, hitters were able to tee off on his pitches.  

Mechanics = B
This grade really depends on who you talk to.  First things first, McGowin’s delivery makes it hard for hitters to pick up on the pitch until it’s too late which gives him an extra advantage.  Kyle uses a sort of inverted-W motion when he pitches, very similar to C.J. Wilson.  The inverted W is when the pitcher strides he keeps his glove elbow up with his glove pointed toward the ground and his throwing elbow up and throwing hand in the same down position as his glove.  This gives the pitcher a specific whipping action.  Some scouts don’t mind this at all, it creates a ton of leverage and the ability to get extra “oomph” on the fastball and snap on the breaking ball.   Some scouts dislike it though as it places extra tension on the throwing shoulder and elbow.  Personally, I don’t buy into a lot of pitching mechanic specifics.  I believe that some muscles and tendons can stand the pressures of being a big league pitcher and throwing in the upper 90’s (Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan) and some simply can’t (Mark Prior).  C.J. Wilson’s and Jered Weaver’s arms have held up pretty well despite scouts cautioning against their mechanics, so until I see otherwise, I’ll give Kyle McGowin the benefit of the doubt. 

= C
McGowin struggled in his first taste of major league ball, but in his defense, the environment makes it so that any fly ball turns into a double or homerun.  I expect he’ll head to A Ball as a starter this year and open a lot of eyes.

Projection = B
McGowin could either turn into a starter or reliever at this point.  Some scouts really like him as a reliever, I personally like this chances as a starter for the time being.  Anytime you can factor in a big, strong body, long frame, deceptive low 90’s fastball, knee buckling breaking pitch and repeatable mechanics, it’s a good thing.

Grade as a Prospect = C
McGowin is a good prospect, and it should only be a matter of time before the rest of the world sees this.  But until he accomplishes anything in the minors and has a for-sure, defined role we have to keep him at a C.  Still I envision him being quite a bit higher this time next year.

Estimated MLB Arrival Date = 2017
The Angels have the benefit of taking their time with McGowin as a starter.  The system has plenty of high-end, projectable relievers but not enough starting pitching talent.  Should the Angels decide he’s a reliever I could see him making it to the Angels a year earlier. 

2013 in Review*
After a huge season at Savannah State, the Angels used their fifth round pick in the 2013 draft on McGowin. While he is a college prospect. he isn't exactly the prototypical "safe" college arm the Halos have stocked the system with over the last few years. The skinny right-hander is actually something of a sleeper. His arsenal is pretty standard with flashes of something much better right now, but he could mature some more physically to where he can more consistently reach the mid-nineties with his fastball.

One area of concern for McGowin is that he has been said to be a rather emotional pitcher on the mound. That could be a good thing if he channels it properly like Jered Weaver. But it could be a bad thing if he let's those emotions get the best of him and takes him out of his game.

Looking Ahead*
McGowin signed in time to make a few appearances with Orem where his numbers weren't great, but the sample was so small that there is no reason to worry. It will be interesting to see how the Halos handle McGowin next season. He is 22, so they could push him right to Single-A, but he also comes from a smaller college and has some projection, so it is possible the Angels could take it slow with him and have him report to a short-season league. In time, he could be moved into a relief role, but that probably won't happen for a few years and only if he fails to develop a usable third pitch.

*As we do every year, the scouting reports and grades are provided by Scotty Allen while Garrett Wilson provides the 2013 in Review and Looking Ahead sections.

Scott Allen

About Scott Allen

Scott is a writer for The Outside Corner and writer/prospect expert at Monkey With A Halo can be followed on Twitter @ScottyA_MWAH