Royals prospect Bowlan throws 98-pitch no-hitter

July 16th, 2019

Jonathan Bowlan was as untouchable as he was efficient on Monday as he fired a no-hitter on just 98 pitches in Class A Advanced Wilmington’s 3-0 win over Carolina at Frawley Stadium. It was the second no-hitter in Blue Rocks history.

Bowlan retired the first five batters of the game before Carolina’s Wes Rogers reached base via an infield throwing error with two outs in the second inning. The Royals’ No. 29 prospect did not allow a baserunner the rest of the way, setting down 22 straight batters over the final 7 2/3 innings to complete the no-hitter.

Bowlan’s nine strikeouts matched his career-high total, and he’s now reached the mark four times this season, including three times in his past six starts. He also recorded 13 ground-ball outs in the outing, throwing 63 of 98 pitches for strikes. The 22-year-old right-hander hadn’t thrown more than 13 pitches in an inning until the ninth, when he needed 15 pitches to retire the side on a pair of groundouts and a swinging strikeout, and he threw 10 pitches or fewer in five frames along the way.

The Royals took Bowlan in the second round of the 2018 Draft out of Memphis – where his father, Mark, authored a perfect game before going to the Cardinals in the 19th round of the 1989 Draft – then sent him to the Rookie-level Pioneer League for his pro debut. He pitched to mixed results, finishing with a 6.94 ERA and 51 hits allowed in 35 innings.

In his first full season, however, Bowlan has been one of the top performers in the organization. In 18 games (16 starts) between Wilmington and Class A Lexington, he’s pitched to a 2.78 ERA while compiling 112 strikeouts against just 12 walks in 103 2/3 innings.

He’s been particularly good since his promotion to Wilmington on June 23, going 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 38/2 K/BB in five starts for the Blue Rocks.

An imposing presence on the mound at 6-foot-6, 260-plus pounds, Bowlan features a heavy fastball in the 92-95 mph range that nets him both whiffs and even more ground ball contact. His low-80s slider is his go-to secondary pitch, one that receives above-average grades from evaluators, and he also has some feel for throwing a changeup. He repeats his delivery well given his size, and it translates to above-average control.

Bowlan benefited from some early run support on Monday, as Wilmington catcher Sebastian Rivero delivered an RBI single in the second inning before the Blue Rocks pushed across another run on a double play. In the seventh, Kyle Kasser tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single.

Mudcats shortstop Brice Turang, Milwaukee’s No. 2 prospect (No. 91 overall), struck out three times out of the leadoff spot but also saw 24 pitches in his four at-bats against Bowlan.