Does Savannah State Ace Kyle McGowin Have a Chance?

Ryan Syrkus

Florida State has faced its fair share of elite pitchers this season. This article takes a look at how they fared, how Kyle McGowin's season stacks up and do the Tigers have a shot of pulling the upset of the tournament.

In case you were unaware Florida State plays in the top conference in the nation this season. The ACC had 8 of 12 teams make the tournament, 3 national seeds (should of been 4) and 5 regional host teams in total. Typically when you are the best conference in your sport you have the best players and that holds true this season as there are plenty of future high draft picks mentioned below, either this year or in following ones. What we have below is an account of all appearances 1st or 2nd Team All ACC Pitchers made against Florida State this season. Why is this relevant to Kyle McGowin? Well if he is the pitcher that everyone makes him out to be then one could possibly expect similar results against the Noles come Friday.

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Here you can see just how well All ACC pitchers performed against FSU and its not like the Noles have a paltry offense. The stat line that follows the totals are the pitching stats for opposing pitchers that faced the Noles this season. To make matters evern worse the Seminoles lost all 10 of the above games and as you can see each pitcher played a significant role in making that happen. Next we will look at how the pitchers did from more of a hitter's perspective.

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Seven runs scored in these outings is troublesome. A slugging percentage 80 points lower than an on-base percentage and only 30 points better than batting average is troublesome. This should cause some concern moving forward and FSU moves closer to Omaha, the biggest question at hand right now is if the Noles should be concerned come 5 PM Friday evening.

Lets take a look a closer look at Kyle McGowin...

Kendall Rogers from Perfect Game:

You certainly never will see Florida State shying away from anyone, but you'd be lying if there wasn't at least some concern the Seminoles must face Savannah State right-handed pitcher Kyle McGowin in the Tallahassee Regional opener. McGowin is a very solid prospect with a 90-plus fastball, and has tallied extremely impressive numbers this spring, as expected against rather weak competition.

Does not sound overly impressive from someone who covers college baseball very closely. A 90 plus fastball doesn't sound all that daunting and as Rogers said the impressive numbers were put up against poor competition. I mentioned earlier this week that 9 of his 14 appearances have come against the teams in the bottom 15% of college baseball. Another way to look at it is that two-thirds of his innings pitched came against teams with an RPI of 250 or worse, those 6 teams won a combined 52 games on the season, UNC and LSU currently sit at 52 wins each.

In March Baseball America wrote an article previewing McGowin:

He has a lean, athletic build at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds. He shows a loose, repeatable delivery and pitches with a good line to the plate. He works quickly and the ball comes out of his hand with ease. He throws a two- and four-seam fastball. The two-seamer sits in the 86-89 mph range with late life. He generates a lot of groundballs and will break bats as a professional. The four-seamer is typically in the 91-93 mph range, but he can reach back for even more, when necessary.

Some takeaways from these notes when compared to the video I watched in the article about 15 times:

  • Pitched out of the stretch and I saw varied deliveries
  • Did not see a lot of life on his fastball, very flat with little break. The one FB I saw with movement started way out of the zone
  • Generating a lot of groundballs is usually a great thing, the Tigers have a terrible defense so that could be an issue
  • Again 91-93 with little movement is something that this FSU team can handle
"His slider, in my opinion, is his best pitch," Hardy said. "His secondary pitches are pretty darned good. I think that separates him from a lot of individuals across the country, because he can throw his slider 3-2, bases loaded in the championship game and he will throw it for a strike."

This is his head coach speaking here and I'm sure McGowin has a nice slide but if you have ever seen MEAC baseball, the majority of pitcher's best pitch is some type off off-speed pitch.

Now lets take a look at just how McGowin has performed on the field this season

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His season totals are amazing and with numbers like that I can understand why he was named as a Golden Spikes finalist. Again I want to emphasize there were only 15 teams out of 295 that had a worse strength of schedule than Savannah State this season.

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He did have one appearance this season against a team with a respectable RPI (64) and he pitched exactly one inning. McGowin earned the save after starting the 9th inning with a 3 run lead.

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Bethune-Cookman handed McGowin is lone loss on the season on May 5th but that was due to the 5 errors the SSU defense allowed and not his pitching performance. Bethune is normally the best team in this conference and after this season it is my guess they will go back to being the best team in this conference. UAB is traditionally a solid small baseball school but in this game he had his shortest outing of the season where he struck out 5 and walked 3 scattering 4 hits.

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Now is where we see McGowin making the majority of his appearances, against the dregs of college baseball. I could go on and on about how terrible these teams are but I think that this is pretty apparent by now. The main picture that I am try to paint is is that Kyle McGowin has in no way, shape or form seen anything like he is going to see Friday night when he faces the Florida State lineup.

Not only does McGowin have to worry about opposing hitters he has to worry about the atmosphere of Dick Howser Stadium and until you have played there or attended a playoff game you do not know what to expect. Take a peek at the crowds that McGowin has faced this season.

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A total of 1267 fans is what he has pitched in front of, largest crowd was 424, and I am pretty positive in saying that the crowds were not nearly as passionate or animated as what he will see tomorrow. For the record the lowest attended home game this season for FSU was a rain filled contest that drew 3492 against USF.


In this news clip that ran last night they talked to McGowin about what he expects, if you cant watch Ill break it down for you.

"I just go out there thinking its another game. We played Georgia Tech, they average the same amount of people pretty much and it's just another game and everyone is there to watch us play.

Not even close to being the case, Georgia Tech averaged 1525 for their 33 home games, Florida State averaged 4654 in 35 home games this season. That is not the same that is actually 3 times less than what FSU averages. Savannah State also got their doors blown off in a 14-1 loss.

They are no better than us, everyone is the same and you just happen to be on TV and thats a great feeling," McGowin said.

I am assuming that he is saying FSU is no better than SSU and I understand that he wants to stand up for his team but Florida State is better than Savannah State in every facet, capacity and metric when it comes to baseball.

Now do I think Kyle McGowin will come out and go all Buck Farmer on the Seminoles lineup? No. Do I think he will go all Mark Appel? No. Do I think that he will struggle and perform somewhere in between. Yes.

There is a lot in store today regarding the regionals and Florida State baseball so stay tuned.

Go Noles!

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