The Mets turned to a Division II school in New Hampshire of all places to find their 13th-round choice, a tall righty named Kevin McGowan. Franklin Pierce University actually had one of the best Division II teams in the country, boasting two draftees. McGowan, whose uncle Sean McGowan was a third-round pick in 1999 who made it as far as Triple-A, was the second, getting taken just eight spots after teammate Trevor Graham.
McGowan boosted his stock significantly this spring with a big velocity boost that pushed him from pitching in the high-80s and brushing 92 to sitting in the low-90s and brushing 95. He pairs the heater with an above average changeup that he does a good job of getting on top of, but unfortunately the breaking balls lag behind. The slider is the better of the two right now, and it’s fringy, lacking the bite you usually want to see. I’d actually prefer to see him continue to develop the slower curve, which probably has a little more potential and would give him a little more range in velocity.
Mechanically, McGowan’s pretty clean, taking a big stride and landing smooth. The arm action is pretty clean if a little long at the bottom. And he throws strikes, walking just 16 in 78 innings, and his long arms help him put a little bit of sink on his fastball. I do wonder about a mediocre strikeout rate--less than 7.0 per nine innings--which you wouldn’t expect from a Division II pitcher with his kind of stuff. A better breaking ball would certainly help.
There’s definitely workable material here, and it’s rare to find a collegiate pitcher with a big fastball and a starting pitcher’s frame this late in the draft. And cold weather pitchers are often late bloomers due to a lack of experience resulting from shorter seasons. Keep an eye on McGowan; he could be a sleeper.