With the 2018 Draft fast approaching (June 4-6 on MLB Network and MLB.com), we take a closer look at the top prospects in this year's class.:: 2018 Draft coverage ::Name: Jackson KowarPosition: RHPSchool: FloridaRank on Draft Top 200: 15DOB: 10/04/1996Bats: RThrows: RHeight: 6'5"Weight: 180 lbs.Tools
(Future grades on 20-80 scouting scale)Fastball: 65
With the 2018 Draft fast approaching (June 4-6 on MLB Network and MLB.com), we take a closer look at the top prospects in this year's class.
:: 2018 Draft coverage ::
Name: Jackson Kowar
Rank on Draft Top 200: 15
Weight: 180 lbs.
(Future grades on 20-80 scouting scale)
Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
Top 20 Draft Prospects profiles
14 G, 86.2 IP, 9-3, 3.01 ERA, 84 K, .233 AVG
While Brady Singer -- ranked No. 5 on MLB Pipeline's Top 200 Draft Prospects list -- understandably gets most of the attention in terms of the Florida Gators' staff, recent history should show the school typically has a deep stable of arms for scouts to evaluate. Kowar pitched behind 2017 first-rounder Alex Faedo and Singer in the weekend rotation last year and opened some eyes with how he threw this fall to jump up on Draft radars. He continued to cement himself as a first-round pick this spring.
Kowar's size and live arm make him stand out immediately. With a clean, repeatable delivery and easy arm action, the 6-foot-5 right-hander was up to 98 mph this fall and can sit in the mid 90s with ease. It can be a little bit too true at times, in contrast to Singer's live heater, leading to a lower strikeout rate during his sophomore year than one would expect. His changeup is his best secondary offering and grades out as a plus pitch. Kowar's breaking ball is behind his other two pitches, but it is above-average at times. He generally throws strikes and his command should improve with his solid delivery.
With some projection and good arm strength, there's some room for Kowar to grow on the mound. There are some who like him as much as, if not more than, Singer and the two have combined to be another exciting one-two punch in Gainesville.
MLB comp:Clay Buchholz
Fun fact: Called on to pitch in relief in Game 2 of the 2017 College World Series Final against Louisiana State University, Kowar recorded the only save of his collegiate career with 1 2/3 innings of one-hit ball to secure Florida's first national championship.
He said it: "Once you get out there, you don't really notice anything else. I pitched in Jacksonville last year, which I think 14,000 people were there or something. I've been in a situation where the stadium kind of feels like it's on you. But once you take a deep breath and look at the glove, it's all about executing pitches." -- Kowar to SECCountry.com last year on how he deals with pitching in hostile environments.
They said it: "I think his changing tempo today during the game, I thought that was a big step for him. Hopefully he can continue that into the season. And I think if he does that, that will be a big stride to separate himself from his season last year."
-- Florida senior catcher J.J. Schwarz told Baseball America in February following a game in which Kowar recorded 10 strikeouts over seven two-run innings in a win over Sienna.
Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com.