Washington Nationals Non-Roster Player Profile: Kyle McGowin

One of the pitchers the Washington Nationals invited to spring training this weekend is Kyle McGowin, who was acquired in the Danny Espinosa deal

When the Washington Nationals traded Danny Espinosa to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim back in December, they acquired right-handed pitchers Kyle McGowin and Austin Adams. Adams is on the 40-man roster and could be a bullpen option. As for McGowin, the starter was invited to spring training on a non-roster invite this past weekend.

McGowin was taken in the fifth round of the 2013 MLB Draft out of Savannah State University. Last season, at triple-A Salt Lake City, the then 24-year-old went 6-12 with a 6.11 ERA in 22 starts. He struck out 98 batters and walked 46 in 116.1 innings.

While the ERA is high, you have to remember that the Pacific Coast League is a hitter friendly league. Plus, the altitude in some of those ballparks does play a factor. According to MILB.com, Salt Lake City’s home stadium has allowed 1.155 runs per game, which is the fourth most in the PCL.

In terms of how McGowin ranked among the pitchers in his Bees rotation, he was third on the team in innings pitched and second in strikeouts, but he did lead the team in walks and gave up the second most home runs (16).

In an interview with the sports editor of The East Hampton Star, Jack Graves, McGowin talked about the mental grind of pitching in the PCL and how it might have affected his confidence when he first got there:

“I wasn’t as confident as I should have been when I got up to Salt Lake, but then, as my confidence increased, my season turned around. . . . The mental part is most of the game.”

If you take out a start McGowin had on August 27 against Las Vegas when he gave up six runs in 1/3 of an inning, he did have a good finish to his season. In five of his final six starts, the right-hander gave up a total of ten runs in 31 innings. While at Salt Lake, he also had eight starts in which he threw over 100 pitches.

Heading into the 2017 season, McGowin is likely going to start in the rotation for triple-A Syracuse. With that being said, it will be interesting to watch him pitch in the International League, which is much more favorable to pitchers compared to the PCL.

If McGowin can succeed at triple-A with his fastball, slider, and changeup, maybe he is one of those pitchers that gets a September call-up this year. At the very least, he should provide good depth in the Syracuse rotation.

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