“If he looks like a guy who is a farmer from Oklahoma that’s probably because he is a farmer from Oklahoma.” Those were the first words uttered about the Trenton Thunder’s closer Cale Coshow, from another media member.
Coshow comes in at 6-foot-5 and is every bit of 270 pounds. From first glance, he looked like someone getting ready to get drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft, which is fitting considering he was once an offensive lineman. He had offers from Division-I schools for both football and baseball but ultimately chose to play baseball at the University of Oklahoma
After eventually being cut from the University’s baseball team, Coshow decided to drive Oklahoma Christian University where he would pitch and eventually became the 13th round selection of the New York Yankees back in 2013.
Coshow is a man that definitely gives off a very strong first impression with his high powered arm. He is an imposing figure on the mound with size like his and things like that stand out for his manger with the Trenton Thunder.
“I didn’t see him a lot [in Spring Training] to be completely honest with you," Bobby Mitchell said. "He threw mostly for the Triple-A team but I’ve seen enough of him to know he’s got electric stuff. He’s got a high-90’s fastball, if not 100, and that’s very difficult at any level.”
Coshow started his professional career with the Staten Island Yankees where he gained experience out of the bullpen and as a starting pitcher, and had some decent success despite having an 0-2 record, posting a 3.76 ERA, striking out 36, and walking 22 in 40.2 innings.
He would continue to be used both in the rotation and out of the bullpen throughout the next couple seasons as he continued to rise through the rankings of the minor leagues, and even made as many as 15 starts in a season, that being in 2015.
That proved to be his best season as a pro so far, tossing 114 innings, resulting in a 9-5 record, with a 2.45 ERA, with 97 strikeouts, to just 28 walks. Clearly, batters had a hard time facing the big right-hander as they only had a .208 batting against him over the course of the entire season.
The very same season Coshow earned himself eight saves in as many chances. Those eight saves were a career high which he will likely surpass this season, already earning seven saves in the month of April.
Even though Coshow has been getting more and more experience as a starter and reliever these past couple of seasons, Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell makes it very clear that he has one sole role for the Thunder:
“He’s not a starter anymore. He will not be starting.” Mitchell said adamantly. “He was a starter to work more on his secondary pitches. He’s beyond that, and now he’s really working on that closer mentality. So, we’re going use him in that situation and it’s up to him to handle it.”
Life as the full-time Thunder closer started off rough for Coshow, giving up three runs in his first appearance of the season against Erie. Since then, however, he has been nothing short of spectacular, only allowing one run in his last 7.1 innings, striking out 12 and locking up seven saves. So it appears after that first rough outing Coshow certainly is handling the role very well.
“Well, you hope he can continue that.” Mitchell said about his streak of success. “He’s gonna have outings where he may not do that and he’s gotta handle the adversity, and stay confident for the next outing.”
Coshow is just one of many on the Thunder roster that are showing flashes of greatness, and is another one of the players that Bobby Mitchell believes has enormous potential.
“If he can stay low in the zone with 95 and work both edges of the plate, the sky is the limit.” Mitchell said. “Closers need to have a short memory, and he’s working on that. He’s not quite there yet because he’s so competitive and wants to do well so badly. That’s part of his makeup, and that’s a good thing.
"But sometimes you get down on yourself when you have a bad outing. He wants to get everyone out every day, and that isn’t going to happen, but if he can control and command his pitches he is going to be very good.”
Mitchell says his closer has the kind of arm that “you simply need to be blessed with” and has to be able to handle a bad outing one night, then go out and be dominate again the next night, but loves his potential and can see a big league career ahead for him.
“Maybe a guy like Troy Percival with the Angels," Mitchell made a big league comparison of Coshow. "He just reared back and fired but then he also developed a curveball. Coshow doesn’t have a curveball but he’s got a mean cut-slider which is similar. Both of them throw really hard, and you pretty much know what’s coming most of the time with both and them, and there still so hard to hit because they’re so powerful.”
Coshow may be still adjusting to a new full-time role and is only 24 years old, but has already shown his manager the potential of a guy who had a 14-year career in the big leagues, and a guy who at one point was at the top of the league at his position. All you have to do is watch this kid pitch one time, and you will become another believer in the talent he has.