As a 6-foot-1, 175-pound, right-handed pitcher drafted right out of Princeton University, Matt Bowman
has admitted that he struggled in the beginning of the season. With this struggle, he set goals for himself in order to progress and show improvement by the end of the season.
"In general, I think this season has gone pretty well," Bowman said. "It started off a little rough but I've improved since the beginning and I work hard to keep improving.
"In the beginning, I was just giving up runs — I was throwing the ball, I wasn't pitching. But, I've learned a few things and I feel like I'm pitching a little more.
"I think I can throw all four of my pitches as strikes. I trust my fastball and I feel like I read hitters really well—especially the second time around."
Rich Donnelly, Cyclones Manager, and Marc Valdez, Cyclones pitching coach, both feel that his talents are evident and attest to his improvements.
"Matt has done very well," Donnelly noted. "He's had two good outings in a row and he's really learned how to command his fastball.
"I saw a guy that came out of college not really having many routines," Valdez said, "as far as game preparation goes. He has really picked up on the way we do things here and has gotten much better at game routines."
Bowman finished his debut season with two wins, two losses, and three saves, and he struck out 30 batters in 29 1/3 innings. With an ERA of 2.45, he had effective moments on the mound.
In his first professional start of the season on August 16th against the Tri-City Valley Cats, Bowman pitched four scoreless innings, allowing no earned runs and striking out two batters. Bowman sees this as a highlight of the season because it shows just how much he has improved.
"The big difference in my pitching," Bowman noted, "is just trusting my fastball and being aggressive—I think the biggest difference was the one start I got, against these guys [Tri-City]. I only had four innings and two strikeouts, but I just kept throwing fastballs."
When on the mound, Bowman wants to show his batter every pitch. Valdez mentioned that he and Bowman have been working on making smart choices using some, not all, of his pitches.
"I have a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup," Bowman said. "The fastball is in the low 90s and everything else is 80s or high 70s. I've learned a lot about when to use my pitches."
"He wants to throw every pitch all the time," Valdez noted, "and throw the first hitter all of his pitches. But we want to condense that and show him, if we have a 92-94 [mph] fastball like he does, we want him to use that fastball and use the breaking ball to keep him balanced when he's in trouble - not show the guys all of his pitches right away.
"We want him to continue to stay consistent with his fastball. His other breaking ball pitches have the potential to be big league pitches and we see that in him."
Donnelly and Valdez see him as a starter for next season and believe that with his continued progress, he can accomplish all of the goals he has set for himself.
"Bowman could be a starter next year," Donnelly explained. "He has three or four pitches which would make him a good starter, especially now that he has learned to command his fastball."
"As far as next year, his goal is to make a full season club coming out of Spring Training."
Bowman's immediate goal is to start on a full season team, just as his coaches predict.
"I haven't thought too far ahead," Bowman said. "I was told that I'd be starting next season so that would be great. Whether I'm here or somewhere else, I'll be happy wherever I end up."
As for the future of his career, he hopes to make it all the way up to the Major Leagues. With the improvements he has made and potential that he has, this goal can most certainly be attained.
Matt Bowman, one of the relief pitchers on the Brooklyn Cylones, had short but very effective outings this season. The Mets drafted him in the 13th round of the 2012 MLB draft and since then, he has worked hard to grow and improve on the mound, and he's preparing himself for an eventual trip to the rotation.
Matt Bowman had a successful debut season as a reliever but now he's getting ready to start.