Kyle Stowers started Stanford’s season-opener against nationally ranked Cal State Fullerton as a freshman in 2017. Expectations were high for the first-year outfielder but an inability to produce consistently limited him to 19 games.
An adjustment in his approach and mentality to the game allowed him to experience notable improvements last year. He was one of Stanford’s best hitters and continued his success throughout the summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League.
His success last season and five-tool potential have caused professional scouts to consider him as one of the top prospects in this year’s MLB draft. MLB.com ranks the junior outfielder as the 34th-best prospect in June’s draft class.
“Any junior or senior will tell you that they want to play professional baseball,” Stowers said. “It’s everyone’s dream. We all think about that.
“But at the same time, there’s little I can control in that. I firmly believe if I focus on the team more and do everything I can to help the team win, then that stuff will work out how it’s meant to work out.”
In 58 games, Stowers hit .286 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 206 at-bats as a sophomore last year. It was a bounce-back performance for Stowers, who had high expectations his freshman season but posted a .103 batting averaging with one home run and four RBIs in 39 at-bats in 2017.
He was one of the top hitters in the Cape Code League last summer, hitting .324 in 34 games.
Stowers, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound left-handed hitter, has legitimate power and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He’s a solid athlete with respectable speed and possesses a strong arm that profiles well in right field.
“I think I have some tools, but I think the biggest thing I take the most pride in is being the best teammate,” Stowers said. “Being the type of person others enjoy being around and having relationships with all 34 guys on the team. I feel like I’m someone that plays the game that’s contagious and that people feed off of.”
Stowers’ biggest flaw is his swing-and-miss issues he had last year. He struck out 50 times with Stanford last year and then continued to expand the zone in the summer, recording 34 strikeouts.
Between his sophomore year and the summer, Stowers had a 2.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Stowers believes he “was trying too hard at the plate” and needs to focus on using all parts of the field to cut down on the amount of strikeouts this season.
“Everyone wants to be consistent and not go through lows,” he said. “More specifically, I want to handle my business the same way every day. Just having a routine and getting myself ready to play the game no matter what happened the day before.”
Stanford recruited Stowers as a two-way player. Stowers, a left-handed hurler, hasn’t pitched as much as he anticipated, recording 3 2/3 innings of work. He doesn’t know how much he’ll pitch this year, but said he doesn’t expect it “to be that much.”
In his two years at Stanford, Stowers feels he’s improved his mindset and confidence. If he can build off last year’s success and cut down on his strikeouts, Stowers will be a lock to go in the first round of the draft.
“My goal is to have no expectations, which is tough,” he said. “I think the expectation should be to win a College World Series. That’s all I care about. Anything else that comes with it will take care of itself.”
(Photo of Kyle Stowers courtesy of Stanford athletics)
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for four years. He’s interviewed 133 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.”