Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 Draft Preview: Jackson Kowar
The MLB Draft is months away, but the college baseball season is starting up. We have started to look at college prospects that could be potential picks for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
So far in our college draft preview, we have discussed Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal and Auburn pitcher Casey Mize. If the Pittsburgh Pirates consider taking Madrigal, they would be looking at a college hitter who likely has the top hit tool in the draft. Meanwhile, Mize looks like a bonafide ace, and he has some of the best stuff in the college ranks. However, both look to have significant draft stock, so it is hard to say if either will still be available when pick number 10 comes up on the board.
Another player that the Pittsburgh Pirates could consider with the number 10 overall pick would be Florida Gator pitcher Jackson Kowar. Kowar is everything that teams target in starting pitching prospects. He is very projectable standing at 6’5” and he only weighs around 180 pounds. Given that frame, Kowar has plenty of room to physically fill out, and, in turn, be able to add to his fastball. Also, he pitches at a big university that has become known for producing high level prospect arms. Just in the last two years, the University of Florida has produced multiple high draft picks in A.J. Puk, Logan Shore, Dane Dunning, and Alex Faedo. So obviously, the University of Florida knows how to develop arms.
What has Kowar’s numbers looked like through his college career thus far? He has just started his third year at Florida, and he is off to a really good start. The right-hander has made three starts and owns a 1.86 ERA with 2.57 K/BB ratio in 19 innings pitched. Over the course of his Gator career, Kowar has compiled an 18-1 record with an ERA of 3.67. He owns a 2.39 K/BB ratio and has accumulated 161.1 innings while playing in blue and orange.
While his numbers are not overly impressive, the fact remains that he has done this in a tough conference and has consistently improved each year. Also, with prospects it is more about how projectable a player is, and their development year-to-year, and not direct stats. The biggest draw for Kowar is that his fastball sits in the mid 90s and he has clean mechanics. Here is more from MLB Pipeline on the pitcher:
"His changeup is his best secondary offering, a plus pitch right now. His breaking ball is behind the other two, but it will flash above-average at times. He generally throws strikes and with a solid delivery, his command should improve."
MLB Pipeline has Kowar ranked as the number 10 draft prospect on their top 50 list. Meanwhile, Baseball America has him ranked at number eight on their top 200 list. The big thing that makes Kowar a top pick is his size and mid-to-high 90s fastball. The Pittsburgh Pirates have seen many of their top pitching prospects rise to the upper levels of the system. In the lower minors there is not much to behold in terms of top of the rotation talent. Adding Kowar could give the Bucs a future anchor in their rotation.