Bowman Adapting Quickly

ST. LUCIE, FL – Matthew Bowman doesn't mess around. After starting the year in Savannah, sporting a 2.64 ERA and a perfect 4-0 record in five games for the Sand Gnats, the right-hander was moved up to join the St. Lucie Mets where he made sure to quickly justify his promotion.

Here, through 13 games with the Mets, Bowman accumulated a 6-2 record, a team-best 78 strikeouts, a 1.07 WHIP [lowest in the Florida State League] as well as a 2.42 ERA [second-lowest in the Florida State League] while leading the club in innings pitched with 81.2.

"I like Matt," St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis said. "You know, he's a good kid, number one. Number two, he's an athletic kid. He's very diligent in his work habits.

"He's very diligent whenever it comes to wanting to know the opposing hitters, whoever they may be. And he's got a good fastball with some sink in his offspeed pitches with his split with late movement and his curveball – still making adjustments with that – but all of his pitches move and have a little bit of depth to them which is a good thing."

The Mets skipper first saw the 22-year-old at Spring Training and "really liked him right off the bat." For Ellis the success his young pitcher is having doesn't really come as much of a surprise. For Bowman, on the other hand, his quick promotion came somewhat unexpected.

"I was just happy at that point that I was in Savannah as a starter," Bowman remembered. "Once the season started I didn't know how it was all going to shape out, so I was just happy to make a full-season squad and then about a month in Frank Viola called me aside and said I've moved to St. Lucie and I was very surprised, I almost thought he was joking."

It did not, however, take the young pitcher, who played his college ball at Princeton, very long to get acclimated. In his 13 starts with the Mets, Bowman has never allowed more than four runs and has allowed more than three runs only once – a loss to the Jupiter Hammerheads in which he gave up four runs, his worst outing with the St. Lucie Mets.

More times than not though, Bowman has delivered, throwing three gems that resulted in zero runs, one of which was a one-hitter. He has also been a model of consistency with ERAs of 2.33, 2.32 and 2.66 for the months of May, June and July, respectively.

Mistakes seem to be far and few in between with Bowman which is why a two-game stretch in early July during which he gave up a total of nine walks was all the more odd, especially considering that he walked only 11 batters in his previous nine games.

What exactly the problem was during that brief stretch depends on who you ask.

"I think it might be something mechanical," Bowman said. "I mean the last about month for me hasn't been quite as good as the first month was up here and so I've been kind of pressing to get a little better and I think with pressing I've sort … I've been rushing things and not just letting the game come to me.

"I've been trying to force the game and that sort of led to control issues and thinking hitters are a little better than they are and trying to make perfect pitches rather than good pitches."

His manager, on the other hand, thinks that the issue was a different one.

"I think his mechanics have been strong," Ellis said. "As I said before he's diligent in his work habits, so it's not because he's out of shape. You know, the kid's in really good shape and he's a tough-minded kid. He may be getting tired, I don't know. He's logging a lot of innings and he has a lot of innings between here and Savannah, but there's no excuses. I know there wouldn't be any with him if you asked him either.

"It just seems like he's veering away from contact a little bit, not letting his stuff work the way it should and it has been all year. It's just been specifically the last two starts, his pitch counts have really been elevated in the first five innings. So, I mean with that said, he's been doing a good job all year, it has been just his last two starts and he'll make those adjustments. He's aware of it."

Whatever the root of the problem was, Bowman did indeed make those adjustments.

In his two games since, he walked a total of three hitters, put up ERAs of 1.29 and 0.00, and pitched seven and six innings, respectively. Part of Bowman's recipe for success is not only his ability to adapt quickly, but also his willingness to continually improve.

"I don't think you ever look at a pitch and say that's done, you don't need to do anything more with it," Bowman said.

One of his goals earlier in the year was to improve his curveball.

"It was working alright for a little bit, but lately I've sort of lost a feel for it," Bowman said. "I'm hoping to regain it, but it's sort of in and out with control and how sharp those pitches are right now."

Other areas of his game have seen a higher success rate.

"I've been messing around with the changeup and it's actually worked pretty well," Bowman said. "It's been pretty effective and that also has come and gone, but I think that's actually been my most consistent pitch this year in terms of control and keeping it sharp."

Last but not least, Bowman has plans to improve his fastball which is "sitting right around 90" mph.

"Like every pitcher you want to improve your fastball velocity," Bowman said. "I'm pretty skinny, I hope that I'm not done in terms of velocity and right now I'm not sure I can get the velocity up, but certainly over the offseason I can stand to put on some weight and see what that does."

For now though, the young pitcher is just happy with how his first season in the Florida State League has gone so far, even if that means having to face a new set of challenges.

"No matter where you go you're going to have guys that are at different experience levels and different maturities at the plate. Here, they're more disciplined, they know what you're trying to do on the mound, but at the same time you know what they're trying to do at the plate. I think [you have] more mind games going on," Bowman concluded.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nHere, through 13 games with the Mets, Bowman accumulated a 6-2 record, a team-best 78 strikeouts, a 1.07 WHIP [lowest in the Florida State League] as well as a 2.42 ERA [second-lowest in the Florida State League] while leading the club in innings pitched with 81.2.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like Matt,\" St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis said. \"You know, he's a good kid, number one. Number two, he's an athletic kid. He's very diligent in his work habits.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's very diligent whenever it comes to wanting to know the opposing hitters, whoever they may be. And he's got a good fastball with some sink in his offspeed pitches with his split with late movement and his curveball – still making adjustments with that – but all of his pitches move and have a little bit of depth to them which is a good thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe Mets skipper first saw the 22-year-old at Spring Training and \"really liked him right off the bat.\" For Ellis the success his young pitcher is having doesn't really come as much of a surprise. For Bowman, on the other hand, his quick promotion came somewhat unexpected.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was just happy at that point that I was in Savannah as a starter,\" Bowman remembered. \"Once the season started I didn't know how it was all going to shape out, so I was just happy to make a full-season squad and then about a month in Frank Viola called me aside and said I've moved to St. Lucie and I was very surprised, I almost thought he was joking.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt did not, however, take the young pitcher, who played his college ball at Princeton, very long to get acclimated. In his 13 starts with the Mets, Bowman has never allowed more than four runs and has allowed more than three runs only once – a loss to the Jupiter Hammerheads in which he gave up four runs, his worst outing with the St. Lucie Mets.
\r\n
\r\nMore times than not though, Bowman has delivered, throwing three gems that resulted in zero runs, one of which was a one-hitter. He has also been a model of consistency with ERAs of 2.33, 2.32 and 2.66 for the months of May, June and July, respectively.
\r\n
\r\nMistakes seem to be far and few in between with Bowman which is why a two-game stretch in early July during which he gave up a total of nine walks was all the more odd, especially considering that he walked only 11 batters in his previous nine games.
\r\n
\r\nWhat exactly the problem was during that brief stretch depends on who you ask.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it might be something mechanical,\" Bowman said. \"I mean the last about month for me hasn't been quite as good as the first month was up here and so I've been kind of pressing to get a little better and I think with pressing I've sort … I've been rushing things and not just letting the game come to me.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been trying to force the game and that sort of led to control issues and thinking hitters are a little better than they are and trying to make perfect pitches rather than good pitches.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis manager, on the other hand, thinks that the issue was a different one.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think his mechanics have been strong,\" Ellis said. \"As I said before he's diligent in his work habits, so it's not because he's out of shape. You know, the kid's in really good shape and he's a tough-minded kid. He may be getting tired, I don't know. He's logging a lot of innings and he has a lot of innings between here and Savannah, but there's no excuses. I know there wouldn't be any with him if you asked him either.
\r\n
\r\n\"It just seems like he's veering away from contact a little bit, not letting his stuff work the way it should and it has been all year. It's just been specifically the last two starts, his pitch counts have really been elevated in the first five innings. So, I mean with that said, he's been doing a good job all year, it has been just his last two starts and he'll make those adjustments. He's aware of it.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhatever the root of the problem was, Bowman did indeed make those adjustments.
\r\n
\r\nIn his two games since, he walked a total of three hitters, put up ERAs of 1.29 and 0.00, and pitched seven and six innings, respectively. \r\nPart of Bowman's recipe for success is not only his ability to adapt quickly, but also his willingness to continually improve.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't think you ever look at a pitch and say that's done, you don't need to do anything more with it,\" Bowman said.
\r\n
\r\nOne of his goals earlier in the year was to improve his curveball.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was working alright for a little bit, but lately I've sort of lost a feel for it,\" Bowman said. \"I'm hoping to regain it, but it's sort of in and out with control and how sharp those pitches are right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nOther areas of his game have seen a higher success rate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been messing around with the changeup and it's actually worked pretty well,\" Bowman said. \"It's been pretty effective and that also has come and gone, but I think that's actually been my most consistent pitch this year in terms of control and keeping it sharp.\"
\r\n
\r\nLast but not least, Bowman has plans to improve his fastball which is \"sitting right around 90\" mph.
\r\n
\r\n\"Like every pitcher you want to improve your fastball velocity,\" Bowman said. \"I'm pretty skinny, I hope that I'm not done in terms of velocity and right now I'm not sure I can get the velocity up, but certainly over the offseason I can stand to put on some weight and see what that does.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor now though, the young pitcher is just happy with how his first season in the Florida State League has gone so far, even if that means having to face a new set of challenges.
\r\n
\r\n\"No matter where you go you're going to have guys that are at different experience levels and different maturities at the plate. Here, they're more disciplined, they know what you're trying to do on the mound, but at the same time you know what they're trying to do at the plate. I think [you have] more mind games going on,\" Bowman concluded.
\r\n
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