Thursday, October 07, 2004

Daily Prospect Report 10/7

Rob Bowen, C, Minnesota Twins
Drafted 56th Overall, 1999 Draft, HS, Fort Wayne, IN
Bats B/Throws R
23 YO, 6'3", 220 lbs

I really wanted Bowen to succeed. I root for players from Indiana and Illinois out of a kind of local chauvinism. He had a some nice years in the low minors. In 2000, he hit very well in the short season Appalachian League. He followed that up with a good season in the Midwest League, hitting 18 home runs. He had a pretty terrible 2002, and then he started off 2003 hitting .306/.376/.425 at New Britain and moved up to Rochester, where he hit .257/.333/.495. It isn't Mike Piazza, but it is perfectly acceptable from a catcher, especially if the best chance for a job happens to be as a backup to ├╝ber-prospect Joe Mauer. He has some lightning in that bat.

Then 2004 came around, and everything fell apart. He spent all season in New Britain, and was in full meltdown. .197/.292/.345 in 249 at bats is awful. He still is young enough to rebound and grow up to be a major league backup. However, it seems more likely that he'll have to settle for being a journeyman, earning his paychecks playing in places like Charlotte, Tacoma, and Fresno. Don't weep for him if that happens though. Life as a AAA ballplayer isn't a bad fate. You get a low 6 figure salary. AAA ballparks are really nice these days. And cities like Nashville, Tacoma, Memphis, and New Orleans are great places to spend a summer. Then every once in a while, you might get a callup when the big club catches the plague. Heck, even when you retire, you can go find a high school in need of a baseball coach. The biggest downside is the travel schedule, which is pretty hectic.

To wrap up, Bowen is a decent, but unspectacular defensive catcher. He'll never hit for a great batting average, but he has the ability to hit for power. He's still technically a prospect, but he's just barely hanging on. The Twins could use a power hitting backup, with all the uncertainty surrounding Joe Mauer's knee, Henry Blanco's handicap of being Henry Blanco, and Matt LeCroy's marginal defense and injury problems.

ETA: Late 2005
1 1/2 Stars



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