No. 27 prospect's go-ahead homer makes all the difference in Fall League

October 17th, 2023

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- was put into a scenario Monday night at Scottsdale Stadium that many players fantasize about throughout their careers.

With the Rafters down by two in the top of the ninth inning, the Pirates' No. 27 prospect stepped up to the plate. The first pitch he saw from Nationals right-hander Holden Powell was down the middle. Bowen didn’t budge. Instead, he worked a 3-1 count and got a taste of what Powell was offering.

Finally, the 23-year-old got a ball he liked. In fact, it was almost a replica of Powell’s first pitch. This time, Bowen took a mighty swing and hit the ball 450 feet onto the left-field berm for his second home run in the Arizona Fall League to give the Rafters a 7-6 lead and eventual win.

“[Powell] was throwing some sinkers in and I was looking for it,” Bowen said. “I got lucky that he hung a slider and took a good swing on that ball.”

His teammates in the dugout and the fans in the stands were astonished by the magnitude of his swing. The ball traveled with a 106 mph exit speed through the dry Arizona fall heat. Bowen, however, wasn’t sure whether it had the distance. So he hustled out of the batter's box as though he was trying to beat out an infield single.

Earlier during batting practice, the 2019 11th-round pick felt like he made contact with some balls that were homers, but ended up being short. He was relieved when the ball finally landed during the game and he received a hero’s welcome when he returned to Salt River’s dugout.

“Going up there and competing, that’s all you can do every day,” Bowen said. “I’m working hard for my teammates. We’re all trying to go out there and win. Overall, it was a good night for everybody.”

The homer added to the special year he has been having. The Ohio native slashed .257/.333/.469 with 23 home runs and 88 RBIs for High-A Greensboro during the regular season, getting rewarded with a late promotion to Double-A Altoona, where drove in six runs in eight games.

But Bowen didn’t want his season to end there. The final two months of the season, he prayed for the opportunity to play in the Fall League. He was familiar with the circuit's prestige of being a pipeline for future Major League stars. So when Bowen was informed that he was heading down to the desert, he immediately called his parents with the news.

“It was an amazing feeling,” he said. “It’s like a [sign] of gratitude at the end of the year. Like a ‘job well done.’ Just to be out here, competing against some of the best is where I wanted to be at. It’s just super cool.”

Bowen is slashing .383/.453/.660 in Arizona, while soaking in every moment of the six-week season. He's already gotten a glimpse of what it takes to become a Major League player while figuring out a proper routine. More than anything, he’s taking advantage of absorbing as much knowledge as possible from his teammates from different organizations.

“I love it,” said Bowen, who played in Australia last winter. “Being with some of the guys I’ve never met before is awesome. Picking their brains and learning what they do in their swing, throwing or base running has been really helpful.”

Benny Montgomery (COL No. 8) drove in three runs and Hao-Yu Lee (DET No. 8) went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Rafters. Robert Hassell III (WSH No. 8) finished 2-for-3 with a 453-foot homer and Israel Pineda (WSH No. 21) had a solo opposite-field dinger for the Scorpions.