The KC Royals have no deficit of pitching in the minor leagues, and this prospect may find his way to Kansas City sooner rather than later.
Welcome back to the Kings of Kauffman “Projecting the Prospects” series for 2020. We’ll be reviewing each of the KC Royals organization’s top 30 prospects and projecting the best, worst, and most likely scenarios for the upcoming season. Today, we are looking at pitcher Jackson Kowar.
Jackson Kowar is likely a player that Royals fans are well aware of, and not just because he comes in at number 4 on the top 30 prospect list from the MLB. Kowar is one of the Royals pitching prospects that comes with high expectations.
Pitching for the University of Florida, Kowar was a teammate of Brady Singer, another name Royals fans likely know. The MLB prospect rankings have great things to say about Kowar’s pitches and his progression during his time in the minors, but does state his command will require some continued work.
Kowar has done well during his time with the Royals organization, and since college has been showing that he has a durability that the Royals desperately need in a future pitcher for their rotation.
In 2019, Kowar quickly made his way through the minor league system, hitting advanced A ball and AA for just about equal lengths of time. By the end of the season, he had pitched 148.1 innings, with an ERA of 3.52 and a decent SO per 9 (8.7) and walks per 9 (2.5).
Fans got the chance to see Kowar do some work during a limited spring training in 2020. Though he did see some struggle, holding an ERA of 5.40 over 3.1 innings pitched, the sample size is too small to make judgments and struggles are not completely unexpected for a young pitcher who hasn’t made it above AA, especially with the limited time he had to make changes or get comfortable against some major league hitters.
Worst Case Scenario
Kowar doesn’t have a long history at the professional level yet, but he is one that is expected to take the mound at Kauffman sooner rather than later. Regression of any sort could put that on hold which would be a huge loss for Kowar and the Royals.
While it’s typical for players struggle a bit as they make the transitions between varying level’s of baseball, the worst case for Kowar would be if he is unable to bounce back from any issues that may arise as he attempts to progress.
Best Case Scenario
Kowar has every chance to be a reliable, mid-top of the rotation starter. He has a history of pulling a good deal of innings that will likely only increase as he progresses and depending on how his command develops, he could find himself near the top of the rotation.
2020 could be a bit of a question mark now as there may be some changes when the season finally gets back on track, but Kowar seeing time in Kansas City is not out of the question, and may be expected by many.
Most Likely Scenario
Kowar has a lot of potential but still has some room to grow. He will likely see a great deal of time at AAA Omaha during the 2020 season. The Royals will likely want him to focus on his command and ensure that he continues to make the right steps that will allow him to continue missing bats at the major league level.
As long as he shows steady progression though, it’s likely that Kowar will see at least a few innings in the majors for the 2020 season as the Royals start to put together their rotation for the future.
If you haven’t already, check out the rest of the “Projecting the Prospects” series and see who may have a place at Kauffman in the near future.