Scouting Mets Prospect #26: Shawn Bowman

Bowman was finally healthy for a full season

After years of battling injuries, Shawn Bowman was finally able to start the season on Opening Day and finish the season on his own terms before heading to the baseball World Cup. Following the season, Bowman was placed on the 40-man roster and protected from the Rule 5 Draft. What will finally get him to New York? Look inside to find out.

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Vital Statistics
Name: Shawn Bowman
DOB: December 9, 1984
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Status: 12th Round (2002) – Charles Best High School (BC)

The big question surrounding Shawn Bowman at the start of every season is, "will this be the year he stays healthy and on the field?". In 2009, Bowman answered that question with a resounding "yes". For the first time in four seasons, the third baseman began the season on an Opening Day roster and for the first time in his career it was in Double-A.

It has been a long, worn path saddled with back injuries, surgeries and setbacks for Bowman, and for the first time he got to enjoy the rigors many players at times take as routine. He actively participated in spring training for the first time in years without having to watch others leave camp for assignments while he stayed back to rehab.

"As hard as it is to say, it gave me a sense of accomplishment to at least (break camp) because I haven't been able to break camp healthy in a long time," said Bowman. "It definitely helped."

"It was nice to get out of the Florida State League because I began the year there for the last four seasons because of my back injuries," he continued. "It was important to get to a level where I know you can get called up straight from here."

Bowman got off to a solid start as he hit .263 with two home runs and 11 RBI in April. But more importantly, the numbers and the consistency improved with every passing month. He hit .275 in May, .299 in June, .375 in July and .321 which spoke to the belief that what he needed more than anything were health and reps.

His back acted up again during the summer and limited his time during his final two months. Yet unlike previous occurrences, the injury was mild and did not present any significant obstacles like it had in the past.

"It was nothing serious which was a very good thing," said Bowman. "I felt like I was having a good year to that point and the last thing I wanted was to be out a long time again. It was just a strain that I needed to rest but I came back without any serious problems."

It allowed Bowman to get 15 additional games under his belt in August. It was arguably his best month. He hit .321 but hit two home runs, drove in eight runs and reached a .390 on-base percentage before heading off to play for Team Canada in the baseball World Cup. Lastly, he received a spot on the 40-man roster following the big league season. It was the ending Bowman will use to build more momentum next season.

"There's always more to do, but I feel like I hit the ball well this year and was stronger in the second half of the year. I'm going to keep working hard on my swing and at the plate. (The 40-man spot) gives me the feeling that I could really be one phone call away from the show as long as I take care of business on the field."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2009

Binghamton

.294

347

102

9

44

42

0

25

101

.346

.458

2008

Binghamton

.248

113

28

2

10

12

3

2

35

.263

.363

2008

St. Lucie

.340

97

33

2

11

12

0

4

23

.369

.485

2007

St. Lucie

.150

20

3

1

2

3

1

1

8

.182

.300

2006

St. Lucie

.252

119

30

3

19

17

0

8

39

.311

.387

2005

St. Lucie

.221

326

72

17

53

44

4

22

110

.282

.429

2004

Capital City

.258

396

102

19

69

66

5

39

121

.338

.449

2003

Brooklyn

.203

138

28

0

5

10

2

10

49

.260

.268

2003

Kingsport

.121

33

4

0

3

2

0

1

13

.216

.152



Batting and Power: Bowman's natural power has not returned to where it was early in his career, but there is still ample pop in his bat. His home run power remains mostly to the pull side, but he has plenty of extra base power to all fields. He is especially quick on the inner half and drives fastballs as well as any hitter in the organization. However, he struggles against well placed breaking pitches down and away. He is patient and waits for his pitch to execute, but when pitchers attack him with breaking pitches early in at-bats, Bowman tends to fall behind in the count and his plate discipline breaks down. That led to a very high strikeout total and disappointing strikeout-to-walk ratio. Though there is a hole in swing to close, Bowman is an efficient hitter who has a track record of increased production the more he plays.

Base Running and Speed: Bowman is an aggressive, instinctive runner but lacks overall speed. He will never be a stolen base threat—he had zero attempts in 2009—but smarts on the base paths will preclude from making mistakes and running himself into outs.

Defense: Despite years of injury, Bowman's defense remains the best in the system. He has not lost a step on the hot corner and still demonstrates a great first step whether it is diving to either side or charging to make a play. He boasts a plus throwing arm, the best infield arm in the system, which allows him to make plays others cannot. His arm strength leads to some overaggressive playmaking at times, but Bowman is a big league defender right now.

Projection: The fact that the organization placed Bowman on the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft even after years of injury speaks to the value he retains. Bowman is a "pro's pro" and exudes the leadership qualities and makeup ideal in a professional ballplayer. Bowman's bat, big league glove and flexibility on either corner make it possible for him to be used as a utility infielder in light of David Wright's presence. As long as he remains healthy, Bowman has the tools to be a value bench player.

ETA: 2010. Bowman should open the season in Triple-A for the first time as Buffalo's starting third baseman. Given his new spot on the 40-man roster, there is high confidence that whether it comes as a result of a roster need or after September 1, Bowman will finally get his cup of coffee, or more, this season.

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