The Red Sox called up right-handed pitching prospect Michael Bowden to make his second appearance of the season last night. Bowden labored through two innings throwing 63 pitches while giving up seven runs on eight hits and three walks. He failed to strike out a batter and served up a home run to the first batter he faced (Hideki Matsui).
Bowden is a starter by nature although both of his major league appearances have come out of the bullpen this season. The 22-year old projects as a middle of the rotation starter down the line. He is still at least a year away from becoming a regular starter. He must hone his command as he simply lacks the stuff to overpower major league hitters.
His 3.20 ERA suggests that he is having a solid season in Triple-A. However, further analysis will reveal that Bowden has been extremely lucky this season.
Bowden’s FIP is 4.16, not too bad, but his xFIP (which adjusts for league average home run rates) is a poor 4.92 and his tRA is 4.44.
His strikeout-to-walk ratio has diminished to 1.91 in part due to an inflated walk rate (a career high 3.36 walks per nine innings). He has been fortunate that his BABIP is just .254. This is an unreasonably low average and can be expected to regress back towards .300 in the future.
Bowden has been known as a fly ball pitcher and his 44 percent fly ball rate and 22.6 percent infield fly rate this season are right around his career averages. This could be a real concern considering he could wind up pitching half his games at Fenway Park.
Below are his PitchFX charts from last night’s performance. As you can tell his fastball had very little movement last night.
He also appeared reluctant to challenge hitters. He stayed away from both right handed and left handed batters trying to paint the outside corners. Obviously, he was not able to fool anyone.