The Colorado Rockies have made Ben Bowden, a left-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt, their third selection in the the 2016 MLB amateur draft. That makes three pitchers in the first day of the draft for the Rockies. Colorado took prep RHP Riley Pint with the fourth overall pick and University of Georgia RHP Robert Tyler with the 38th overall pick.
Bowden spent his first two years at Vanderbilt working out of the bullpen. A strong showing in last summer’s prestigious Cape Cod League helped him earn a spot in the Commodores rotation this spring, but a lackluster string of starts sent him back to the bullpen. He finished the season as the closer with 12.08 K/9 and a 2.59 BB/9 in 48.2 innings.
Some see Bowden as a potential mid-rotation starter, others believe he is better suited to the bullpen. On MLB Network shortly after he was drafted, Peter Gammons said:
"I think he could start, [he was moved] because they [Vanderbilt] had some struggles in the bullpen. I think this may have dulled the development of his slider and his changeup, which was started to get really good when he played on Cape Cod...
He may start off in the bullpen in Colorado, but if they give him a chance to go start for two years, I think the breaking ball and the change up will develop. He's so strong he could easily be a starter. He's also a highly intelligent guy."
While he doesn’t throw triple digits like the other Day 1 Rockies draftees, Bowden has a fastball that sits in the low-90’s with a lot of life, but he can crank it up to 95 when needed. He is not a one-trick pony thought; his secondary arsenal features an above average change up that sits 82-84 and a plus slider at 81-85.
It’s pretty clear to see the Bridich Doctrine at work here, as the Rockies have taken three pitchers who’s primary weapon is the fastball, though all for different reasons. The main question with Bowden is if the Rockies will bring him quickly to the majors in the bullpen or take time to develop him in the minors as a starting pitcher.