At 8 years old, Kevin Gowdy began taking pitching lessons with former University of California, Santa Barbra assistant coach and current Chicago Cubs area scout Tom Myers.
Baseball was Gowdy’s favorite sport growing up, and he was willing to put in the necessary work to improve as a pitcher. These lessons helped lay the foundation for Gowdy’s pitching mechanics and mentality on the mound, he said.
Now 10 years later, those lessons are paying off, as Gowdy is one of the most polished pitchers in the 2016 high school class.
Gowdy has a free and easy delivery, along with a great feel for pitching. A 6-foot-4, 175-pound right-handed pitcher, Gowdy has an outstanding three-pitch mix that is uncommon for high school hurlers.
His pitching repertoire consists of three above average pitches. He throws a low-90s fastball, a slider with good bite and a changeup that he displays advanced command of.
“Having a three-pitch mix and being able to throw any pitch in any count is something I take pride it,” Gowdy said. “I didn’t throw a curveball until I was 14 years old. I think learning fastball command and learning a changeup first helped me.”
Growing up in Santa Barbara, Calif., Gowdy first received attention from college coaches at the beginning of his sophomore year of high school in 2013.
“I’ve always been an all right player,” Gowdy said. “But, the summer before my sophomore year is when I took the next step forward with developing. I grew that year and my velocity went up.”
UCLA was one of the first schools to show interest in Gowdy. Although he liked the other schools that were interested in him too, UCLA was the perfect fit for him, he said.
“I just knew that UCLA was where I wanted to go,” Gowdy said. “I think Coach (John) Savage is one of the best in baseball. It is close to home. I can come home on the weekends. Obviously, it has great academics.
“Plus, it’s southern California. It’s sunny year round. I thought it was a really good opportunity for me.”
Gowdy is excited to be a Bruin, but knows there is a chance that he could forego his education and start a professional baseball career this summer.
Ranked 22nd on MLB.com’s top draft prospects list, Gowdy is one of the top high school arms in this year’s draft class and will likely be a first round pick.
Gowdy has exceptional command and pitchability, along with high potential. Although, Gowdy has an already impressive three-pitch mix, it still has room to get better.
Physically, his lanky frame and wide shoulders allow him room to still fill in, which will only help him has he moves along in his career.
Due to his strong work ethic and intangibles, Gowdy is a pitcher who could move through a minor league system quickly, compared to usual high school arms.
He has the potential to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues one day. Now, it’s just a matter of a team giving him a chance and selecting him in June’s MLB Draft.
Despite his name swirling in draft talk, Gowdy isn’t focused on pro ball. Instead, he is thrilled for his senior season of high school baseball and knows that he has a great opportunity at UCLA next fall, if the draft doesn’t work out.
“I don’t really worry about the draft because I have such a good option in my back pocket in UCLA,” Gowdy said. “We will see what happens with the draft. But, right now I am a Bruin and that’s really what I’ve been focusing on.”
Update 5/27/16: Read my follow-up interview with Gowdy here.
You can find more MLB Draft coverage here.