Bowman is swinging a hot bat in the AFL
Shawn Bowman notched a significant amount of playing time in 2008 considering what he endured over the past few seasons. After reaching Double-A for the first time in his career and playing in more games than the last two seasons combined, fears about his health are diminishing as his game strengthens with each passing week. Now in the Arizona Fall League, he wants to continue that trend.
“I was just really happy to play somewhat of a full season, or at least stay healthy for a consistent amount of time. My goal was to make sure I stayed healthy throughout the season, which I did, so I’m happy the way things came out,” Binghamton third baseman Shawn Bowman explained.
Appearing in 55 games this season [26 with St. Lucie, 29 with Binghamton] certainly went a long way to rejuvenate him. Bowman’s 2008 slate was the most games he played in since an 87-game stint with St. Lucie way back in 2005. His time on the field this year helped reassure him that, for now, his back is no longer a hurdle to what he wants to accomplish.
“My back is good to go when I’m out there and isn’t a factor when I’m playing. I have to keep doing my exercises and my routines, but I feel strong out there and my back isn’t getting in the way when I’m on the field.”
His early return to the Florida State League this spring brought an instant comfort zone, evident by his .340 average with St. Lucie, before moving onto Binghamton in the last days of July. But it was in his first trip to the Eastern League where he finally got to open up more.
Bowman got off to a strong start with the B-Mets as he hit nearly .330 through his first dozen games. Yet despite a slow down towards the end of the season when he finished with two home runs and 10 RBI with Binghamton [4 HR, 21 RBI overall], he was pleased with how his stay transpired.
“There isn’t much I can ask for statistically right now because I haven’t really played in two years. I had some success in Double-A before tailing off towards the end but overall it went well,” he said.
After such extended amount of time away from the field, and never having played a day above the FSL, the casual observer could see Bowman’s numbers and think he underperformed in Double-A. However, Bowman never felt overmatched at that level and knows he is capable of much more.
“It was nice to get a promotion to Double-A after being sort of out the game for so long. Obviously, my ultimate goal is to get to the big leagues and not max out at Double-A, but it was a very good, important stepping stone for me to get where I want to go,” he said.
“I feel that as long as I take care of what I need to personally, I can matchup with any league, anywhere. As long as I put myself in the right position mentally and mechanically—on and off the field—I think I can compete with anyone.”
Bowman got his chance to compete with “anyone” as he was assigned to the Arizona Fall League where he will have the opportunity to play amongst and face off against some of the best across the minor leagues.
He is off to a tremendous start, hitting .333 through eight games including three consecutive multi-hit games to begin the season that also saw him club two pivotal home runs. While the added playing time is certainly providing strong early returns, Bowman knows participating in the AFL gives him the opportunity to keep his progress trending upwards.
“When I first got here I know my time [in Arizona] is about getting repetition and continuing the things I was doing well in the regular season, get further back into the swing of things and play my game that I missed over the past couple of years,” he detailed.
“Now that I’m here, and I know I’m going to stay healthy, it’s about improving my game with every game and stay in the right position to play the game mentally while competing with whoever is out there,” he continued.
Currently feeling healthier than he has in some years, he simply seeks to regain his strength and his form that make him one of the organization’s top infield prospects when playing without any pain.