While moving up through the minor league ranks throughout the past summer, New York Mets prospect Kevin McGowan spent the offseason finishing up his college degree at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH as he prepares for his third season in the Mets system.
“My mother really wanted me to go back and finish up school because it was important to have something to fall back on,” McGowan said. “Plus I wanted to be just a student for my last two semesters. It worked out well because I had a ton of free time to make sure I got all of my offseason work for baseball in.”
McGowan, a 23-year old right-handed pitcher, was selected by New York in the 13th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of Franklin Pierce after a stellar junior season, where he went 7-2 with a 3.20 ERA and helped guide the Ravens to a fifth place finish at the Division II College World Series. After spending that summer with the Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season Single-A), he returned to school for the fall semester and worked towards a degree in Sports & Recreation Management. He would return to Rindge for school again this past fall for his final semester.
While making strides in his education, he also made strides on the mound as well. After going 0-2 with a 5.28 ERA over 14 appearances with the Cyclones in 2013, McGowan went 4-2 with an impressive 2.14 ERA with the Savannah Sand Gnats (Class A) in the first half of 2014, earning him a spot in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game and a call up to the St. Lucie Mets (Advanced A).
“It was amazing to be named an All-Star but it was more than just me out there,” McGowan explained. “I was fortunate enough to have a great team behind me as well as great catchers who always worked with my strengths…if it wasn’t for those guys and my coaching staff, I wouldn’t have been an All-Star or promoted to St. Lucie.”
Despite coming from a small Division II school with under 1,500 students, McGowan got to pitch against his fair share of talent in college as he was one of 11 players from the Northeast-10 Conference selected in 2013. He is also one of 26 players selected from Franklin Pierce since 2001, but McGowan still saw a huge leap in competition when he made the jump from college to professional baseball.
“Everyday I see guys who were the best in the SEC and all of these first rounders who are incredible,” McGowan said. “So for me to stick around, I really had to figure things out and work hard so I would not fall behind.”