The Philadelphia Phillies went to the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft knowing that they had the top overall pick, which gave them the entirety of the field of prospects from whom to select their favorite.
With that top overall pick the Phillies chose high-ceiling high school outfielder Mickey Moniak. But the club also hoped that by the time their second round choice came around at #42 overall some player who they had ranked highly would slip to their position.
When that turn came the Phils brain trust was ecstatic to find another high-ceiling high schooler, pitcher Kevin Gowdy, theirs for the taking.
Gowdy, who turns 19 years old this week, is a 6’4″ right-hander out of Santa Barbara High School in California who the club had rated as a first round talent. ESPN had him rated as the 24th best prospect prior to the draft.

What the Experts Have to Say on Gowdy

Per Corey Seidman of CSN Philly, ESPN draft analyst Keith Law was quick to praise the selection stating “I don’t think he has a staff ace’s ceiling, but I like his chances to develop into something just a little below that, especially given the projection remaining and the easy delivery.”
Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz was quoted as follows by CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury on the selection:
“He’s a young right-handed pitcher who has the ability to command the baseball at such a young age. He has an above-average fastball and good breaking stuff. I’m a believer you can’t teach somebody how to pitch. He’s got that innate ability to pitch and get hitters out and that’s what we want in this organization, frontline pitchers.”
Both Moniak and Gowdy had been slated to become a part of UCLA’s freshman class. Instead, both signed big contracts. In fact, Gowdy received a $3.5 million deal, significantly over the $1.536 million slot value for that 42nd overall pick.
MLB Pipeline, which also has him rated as the Phillies #9 prospect, provides the following scouting report:
“Gowdy provides an intriguing combination of projectability and pitchability. The Santa Barbara native has the chance to have three at least above-average pitches in his arsenal. When he’s firing on all cylinders, Gowdy’s fastball will sit in the 90-93 mph range, and with his frame, it’s easy to dream about increased velocity. His breaking ball can be an out pitch with good bite, one that should develop into a true slider in time. Gowdy has a better feel for a changeup than many high school pitchers, and he has shown advanced command for his age. He typically has a free and easy delivery that he repeats well.”
In their MLB Draft report cards released last month, Baseball America rated the Phillies as having had the fourth best draft class.
In commenting on Gowdy specifically, BA’s Hudson Belinsky made the following comments:
“Gowdy’s fastball works in the low 90s and has reached as high as 96. He commands the pitch well and it shows late finish.”
“Gowdy throws a hard and deep, late-breaking slider with power and he can command it to either side of the strike zone.”
“RHP Kevin Gowdy (1s) has a very athletic delivery, and has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.”

Gowdy’s Pro Career to Date

Gowdy began his professional career by appearing in four games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies entry, playing his games at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater in the shadow of Bright House Field, the Phils spring training home.
In those brief four games, Gowdy went 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.222 WHIP. He allowed nine hits over nine innings with a 9/2 K:BB ratio in what is obviously an extremely small sample size.

Projecting the Future

Gowdy is likely to start the 2017 season with the short season Williamsport CrossCutters in the New York-Penn League, with a chance to see some action at Low A Lakewood before the summer is out.
There is plenty of time for Gowdy to develop, but he has all the raw tools, including an already advanced breaking ball and a growing fastball. As his body fills out, he could rocket up this prospect list over the next 2-3 years.
Projecting kids just out of high school is always a hazardous proposition. But I’m excited about the selection. Gowdy has the chance to be a strong 2-3 type starting pitcher for the Phillies in the next decade.
Don’t look for Gowdy to reach Citizens Bank Park much before the 2021 season, when he will be 23 years old. But as general manager Matt Klentak said after the draft regarding both Moniak and Gowdy, “Their development will dictate that.”

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