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Colorado Rockies Top 25 Under 25: No. 21: Ben Bowden

Drew Creasman Avatar
February 1, 2017

 

Welcome to the BSN Denver Colorado Rockies Top 25 Under 25 where we will rank the organization’s best players who will be 25 years-old or younger on Opening Day 2017.

Our parameters for this list are may be different than others it resembles so let us be clear about them:

  1. The list was created entirely by the BSN Rockies staff and had no other input from any outside sources.
  2. While giving credit for overall (or trade) value, we prioritized an ability to help the MLB club win immediately.
  3. In accordance with this, we also prioritized players with fewer question marks but potentially lower ceilings.
  4. Statistics were considered on equal level with scouting reports in addition to our own field reporting.

Our observations come through a combination of spending parts of each of the past four (going on five) seasons on the ground on the backfields at spring training and through our regular reporting from Rookie Level Grand Junction, talking to coaches, scouts, and journalists both on and off the record. Of course, countless hours are spent on MiLB.tv and combing over public reports from other credible sources.

No. 21: Ben Bowden, LHP

We don’t have a ton of information about Ben Bowden, the Rockies 2016 second round draft pick. We know that he comes out of Vanderbilt which has a great track record producing quality MLB pitchers including David Price, Mike Minor and Sonny Gray.

We know that he has a big, projectable frame at six-foot-four, 235 pounds, and that with that frame comes a power fastball that can touch 95-96 mph. We know, because pitching coach Ryan Kibler told us on the BSN Rockies Podcast, that “there is some polish on that guy, and that’s one of the reasons he is going to move a little quicker.”

And we know that the process of moving quick began with inserting the new draftee directly into Low-A Asheville, though that isn’t entirely uncommon for 22-year-olds. But his first stint in professional baseball was incredibly short at a mere 23.2 innings pitched.

He put up a good 3.04 ERA while striking out over 11 and walking nearly six batters a game, getting each of those innings mostly one at a time out of the bullpen. But we are hearing conflicting reports about whether the Rockies intend to keep Bowden in the ‘pen, which could greatly accelerate his path to the Bigs, or whether they will stretch him out into a starter, which could take some time to materialize but dramatically increase the overall value of the player in the long term.

Breaking down his numbers inch by inch would be about as interesting and useful as a sprawling personal narrative about a trip to the DMV and it is with acknowledgement of our own Bias Against the Unknown, that we rank Bowden a little lower than his overall talent might merit.

There is just too much confusion about how the club intends to use him and far too small a sample size to draw any conclusions beyond calling it a nice start. But tools are tools and Bowden has them in spades. Lefties who throw in the mid 90s with decent changeups are hard to find and if everything goes right for him, we could be looking back at this as a criminally low ranking. On the other hand, sports are all about proving yourself, and Ben Bowden still has as much to prove as anyone in the Rockies system.

 

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