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Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Angels out of Savannah State University, right-handed pitching prospect Kyle McGowin was sent to the Washington Nationals in the Danny Espinosa deal a year ago, and he spent the summer of 2017 split between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse with a stint on the disabled list and a quick rehab period mixed in between. In total, the 26-year-old (DOB: November 27, 1991) right-hander made 19 starts this summer, finishing 3-12 with a 5.95 ERA, throwing 98.1 innings and allowing 119 hits (10.9 H/9) and 40 walks (3.7 BB/9) against 75 strikeouts (6.9 K/9).

Because of the injury setback during the summer, the Washington Nationals sent Kyle McGowin to the Arizona Fall League last month, where the threw for the Mesa Solar Sox. That’s where Baseball Census saw the righty pitch several times, and it’s from those viewings that we produced this full Kyle McGowin scouting report, which includes game video, tool grades, pitch notes, projections, and more below.

Kyle McGowin Scouting Report, Washington Nationals — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Four-Seam Fastball (40)
Pretty conventional and straight four-seam offering, plays up some with deception from cross-body mechanics. Good downward plane thanks to height and release, even without natural life. Downward plane helps with extreme ground ball ratio, which has proven his saving grace. Inconsistent command; too often left up in the zone with little life, and struggles to find pinpoint command especially to glove side. Velocity: 88-91, T 92.

Two-Seam Fastball (45)
Minimal feel for arm-side run and how to sequence it with two-seamer; very little life to pitch when out on glove side, but will run harder when it starts on arm-side; likely more valuable against RHH in on hands than against LHH in that regard. Ground ball machine when right; will draw weak contact on the ground when at the knees, but very little margin of error without above-average velocity. Overthrows it sometimes, flattening it out with run and no sink/fade; particularly problematic here when left up in the zone. Velocity: 85-88, T 89.

Changeup (45)
Arguably his best pitch; good feel for fade down and arm-side in the zone, particularly effective against LHH. Late arm-side run with some feel for the pitch, but as with two-seamer, significantly better feel to arm-side than glove-side. Nevertheless, good arm action and arm speed helps sell the pitch. Chance to be his carrying off-speed pitch against better hitters the next few years, especially with feel to exploit LHH. Speed differential from fastball is an issue sometimes; may throw it too hard, even with fade, and find it tough to miss bats because of that. Velocity: 81-83, T 84.

Slider (40)
11-to-5 slider; tight with some tilt, but far from a wipeout pitch to miss bats; almost a cutter, but with better depth. Plays up thanks to mechanics and arm action, especially to RHH. May need to throw it a bit harder to see cut action play up and sell deception to draw weak swings. Velocity: 79-81, T 82.

Control/Command (45/40)
Both below average; too many pitches in too many hittable places with lack of life and not enough velocity to give margin of error. Cross-body release can get mechanics out of whack, affecting control/command. Pacing/tempo issues likely don’t help — works extremely slowly, especially with runners on, and it clearly affects his rhythm.

Pretty radical cross-body gun slinger. Three-quarters release point with some deception aided by cross-body release; very long arm action in the back. Hitters, especially LHH, see ball extremely early with long arm swing. Falls off hard to first base in follow through, occasionally getting off rhythm and affecting release point. Two different moves to the plate with runners on; 1.46 - 1.57 in quicker move; 1.61 - 1.71 in slower move. Struggles to hold runners on; slow and unathletic to the plate with poor pace and inconsistent tempo.

Cross-body deception might play up in situational work out of the bullpen, especially considering command profile, but lack of velocity an issue there. Tempo/pacing a serious issue, pretty clearly affecting his rhythm and execution. Unremarkable, likely organizational depth piece, at best a fringy up-and-down guy with an outside shot as an emergency/spot starter thanks to ground ball stuff when right.

Kyle McGowin Scouting Report — Washington Nationals — 2017 Game Video

Kyle McGowin Scouting Report — Future Projection

More or less in his final form as a now-26-year-old after time spent across multiple years in Triple-A and a stint in the Arizona Fall League, Kyle McGowin isn’t likely to elicit much excitement with below-average stuff and execution and a track record of getting hit hard in the upper minors. That’s unlikely to change at this point with now more than 500 professional innings under his belt, and so it’s a pretty straightforward projection for the righty: 2018 at Triple-A Syracuse, with both a short-term and long-term future as organizational depth in the upper minors for the Washington Nationals and, likely, a few other organizations as he ages.

Now, he does have some interesting deception in his mechanics and surprisingly good feel for a changeup, so there may be a shot for the Washington Nationals to use McGowin as a spot starter or low-leverage long reliever. It should be noted that he draws an extreme amount of ground ball contact, too, so command refinements would boost his profile a bit as a pitch-to-contact ground ball machine. I’m pessimistic that’ll happen to a large extent considering his age, track record, and a lack of velocity that’d otherwise provide a margin of error, though.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Spot start/low-leverage relief ceiling; more likely organizational depth piece with possibility for up-and-down role in coming years (40)

MLB ETA: 2018

Did you like this Kyle McGowin scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Washington Nationals OF Victor Robles — CLICK HERE

St. Louis Cardinals RHP Sandy Alcantara — CLICK HERE

Detroit Tigers IF Kody Eaves — CLICK HERE

Los Angeles Dodgers RHP James Marinan — CLICK HERE

New York Yankees RHP Cody Carroll — CLICK HERE


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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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  1. […] depth unable to adjust to better and better hitters multiple times through the lineup and end up like a fellow AFL teammate with the Nationals this year… If the Washington Nationals want to recoup any potential big league value out of Austen […]

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