Michael Bowden (born September 9, 1986 in Aurora, IL), was drafted by the Red Sox in the 1st Round, 47th overall of the 2005 Amateur Draft out of Waubonsie Valley High School, in Illinois. Bowden signed with the Red Sox on June 23, 2005 for a bonus $730,000.
- Bowden is a big righty starter with a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, presently projecting as a solid third starter at the major league level. He is an advanced pitcher for his age, but there's some room for improvement. He has an arsenal of three pitches that could be big-league caliber: a 90-93 mph four-seam fastball that tops out around 95 mph, a very good 12-6 hard breaking curve, and an excellent circle changeup with plus potential. His main pitch - the four-seamer - has a late, heavy sinking movement, and he generally keeps it down in the zone. Bowden can also work in a two-seamer that is a few mph off of his four-seamer, with a bit more movement. His deceptive changeup sits in the low 80s, about 10 mph off of his fastball, with action moving away from lefties. His mid-70s curve is pretty sharp and he keeps hitters at bay with it. However, he can telegraph his curve on occasion. Secondary stuff is really coming along in 2008. Overall, Bowden has an excellent command of the zone. One aspect that should come with more experience is improved pitchability against advanced hitters. His mechanics are somewhat unconventional in that his delivery is quite compact and he doesn't pull back with a lot of torque. Relies more on arm strength than leverage. But he's able to maintain consistent arm action throughout his outings, so the Sox haven't messed with it. Bowden is said to be a workaholic and just loves to pitch - another player who just lives and dies for baseball. Very athletic and competitive. ~ SoxProspects.com
- Bowden's delivery is a bit unorthodox, but the Red Sox sent him to ASMI (the American Sports Medicine Institute) in Alabama, where his delivery and timing was studied by Dr. James Andrews, to be sure that his delivery didn't put any additional stress on his arm. "The results came back very well, so they don't feel I need to change anything. I do have to pay attention to my direction to home plate though, because I push off on my toes more than my whole foot. I'm facing a little toward right-handed hitters in my delivery." Bowden said, in an interview with David Laurila of redsoxnation.net.
Bowden was selected 47th overall in the 2005 draft in the supplemental first round. Bowden dominated high school competition pitching for Waubonsie Valley High School in Illinois. At the age of 18, Bowden recorded a 0.45 ERA with 172 strikeouts over 80 innings pitched, a rate of 19.35 K/9 innings pitched. Bowden demanded scouts attention after pitching a 17K perfect game in May 2005. Bowden's draft stock slipped after his next performance, and Baseball America had rated him as the 38th best prospect for the draft. Unknown to most teams, he had been paving his driveway as a Mother's Day present the day before the game, which exhausted him and limited his effectiveness. The Sox had investigated the situation, and kept Bowden high on the boards as a result.
Minor League Career
- 2008: Bowden has started the 2008 season with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs.
- 2007: He started off the 2006 season pitching for High-A Lancaster where he had an unprecedented performance, going 2-0, with 1.37 ERA in 8 starts, striking out 46 and only walking 8. Bowden was then promoted to Double-A Portland where he struggled initially but started to come on towards the end of the year and was among the youngest pitchers in the league at 20. His final line for the Sea Dogs was 8-6, with a 4.28 ERA in 19 starts, striking out 82 and walking 33.
- 2006: Bowden began the 2006 season pitching for the Greenville Drive, posting a 9-6 record, with a 3.51 ERA in 24 starts, pitching 107.2 innings, striking out 118, with a 1.13 WHIP. Bowden was called up to Single-A Wilmington as the Bluerocks were approaching the playoffs. The move was slightly debateable, because of the Red Sox history of handling their top pitching prospects with kid gloves, and Bowden already pitching a full season for Greenville, while seemingly wearing down at the end of the season.
- 2005: Selected by the Boston Red Sox in the Supplemental 1st Round (47nd Pick) of the 2005 Amateur Draft. He made his pro debut that summer with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox and went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 4 games (2 starts).
Minor League Awards
- 2007 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Month - April 2007
- 2007 Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago ML Player of the Year
- 2008 Eastern League All-Star
- 2008 Portland Sea Dogs Pitcher of the Year
- Bowden was planning to attend Arizona State University until he was drafted to the Boston Red Sox between the first and second rounds of the First-Year Player Draft in June 2005.
- Matt Myers, Baseball America
- Matt Meyers: let him start until he proves he can't. As for him and the bullpen, all I said was that the lack of a changeup combined with his mechanics could mean he ends up in the bullpen. To say that the Red Sox have dismissed his mechanics as a future issue is ludicrous. Obviously, they felt the mechanics were not a big enough issue for them to not draft him, but there is no way to know how it will play out down the road. As we all remember, Mark Prior was supposed to have the cleanest mechanics you'd ever see, and he has had nothing but arm problems the last couple of years.
- Baseball America
- Michael Bowden rocketed up draft boards this spring with an awe-inspiring senior season at Waubonsie Valley High in Aurora, Ill., and has pitched admirably, if briefly, since signing with the Red Sox for $730,000. The lean righthander made his fourth appearance in the GCL Thursday and walked one of the seven batters he faced in two shutout innings. Bowden has not allowed a run in six innings overall.