In this ongoing series that will last most of spring training, we’re going to look at each player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. Each post will have some information on the player. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more. To see all of the posts in the series, you can click here. Today we kick off the portion of the series that will look at the players on the 40-man roster. This stretch will begin with pitcher Matt Bowman.
Matt Bowman’s Background
Acquired: 13th Round of the 2012 Draft (Mets). Claimed on waivers by the Cincinnati Reds in November of 2018.
Born: May 31, 1991
Height/Weight: 6′ 0″ / 185 lbs
Years of MLB Experience: Three
Matt Bowman was undrafted out of high school and went to Princeton, playing baseball there for three years before he was drafted in 2012 by the New York Mets. For the next few years he moved his way up through the minor leagues, having plenty of success. In 2016 he made the Cardinals team out of the spring and didn’t look back to the minors over the next two seasons. An injury in 2018 led to ineffectiveness and ultimately a trip back to Triple-A.
Matt Bowman’s 2018 Season
In 2016-2017, Matt Bowman was an above-average pitcher out of the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. He posted a 3.70 ERA in 126.1 innings with 38 walks, 8 home runs allowed, and he had 98 strikeouts. 2018 was not at all like the previous two years. He began the season with a poor outing, allowing 3 earned runs in 0.1 innings. Over his first 17 appearances he had an ERA of 5.82. On May 18th he was placed on the disabled list with blisters. He would return after a short rehab stint on June 15th.
He would return to the disabled list a few days later with more blisters. The trip to the disabled list was short, but when he returned his time in the Majors was also short. On July 5th he was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Later in the month he returned to St. Louis for two games, but went back to the minors on July 22nd and spent the next three weeks there. On August 14th he hit the disabled list and didn’t return. Following the season he had surgery to correct Raynaud’s Syndrome, which essentially was causing numbness in his hand.
Matt Bowman’s Playing History
The season that Matt Bowman was drafted he was sent to the rookie-level affiliate for the New York Mets in Brooklyn. While there he dominated in limited relief action, posting a 2.45 ERA in 29.1 innings with just 2 walks and 30 strikeouts. In 2013 he moved up to A-ball, and he split his season between Low and Advanced-A as a starter. Over 21 starts he posted a 3.05 ERA, earning him another promotion the next season. In 2014 that means starting out in Double-A. Most of his season came there, making 17 starts for Binghamton before getting a bump up to Triple-A for another seven games – posting a 3.21 ERA.
Then in 2015 he returned to Triple-A Las Vegas and struggled for the first time, posting a 5.53 ERA in 28 games. That performance led to the Mets leaving Bowman unprotected from the Rule 5 draft. St. Louis picked him up that December and moved him in spring training. He didn’t pitch well, allowing 15 hits with 3 walks in 9.0 innings with an ERA of 7.00. He made the team, though, probably due to the Rule 5 meaning he’d have to go back to the Mets if he didn’t. It worked out as he went on to post a 3.46 ERA in 67.2 innings in the Majors for the Cardinals that season. That was followed up with a 3.99 ERA in 58.2 innings for them in 2017.
Projecting Matt Bowman for 2019
All three projection systems took a shot at the 2019 season for Matt Bowman. ZiPS and Steamer, aside from playing time, were pretty much identical in their projections. Marcels has a slightly different view.
ZiPS Projections | Steamer Projections | Marcels Projections
How could Matt Bowman fit in Cincinnati in 2019?
When Matt Bowman has been healthy he’s been an above-average Major League reliever. He’s been a big ground ball guy when healthy, too. There’s a spot in the bullpen for Bowman if he’s going to be the 2016-2017 version. He’s going to have to go out and prove that, though. After having surgery to correct his Raynaud’s Syndrome he hasn’t pitched in games that matter.
He will probably start on the DL, if not he will probably have a spot in the Louisville bullpen. If he proves he can still get hitters out, there will be a spot for him if the Reds go with 8 bullpen arms.
This could be a real gem of a pickup. Big unknown is the recovery time/quite unusual medical condition. Anyone have any idea about the prognosis?
If successful, he looks to be the successor to a Hughes/Hernandez position.