The Giants acquired left-hander Ben Bowden from the Rays, as revealed by Triple-A Durham manager Brady Williams (hat tip to Durham broadcaster Patrick Kinas). There isn’t any word yet on what the Rays sent back in the deal. Bowden makes his return to the NL West, after spending the majority of his professional career in the Rockies organization.
Colorado drafted Bowden 45th overall in 2016, and while his development was slowed by two missed seasons (2017 due to injury, and naturally 2020 due to the canceled minor league campaign), the southpaw eventually reached the majors in 2021. Bowden posted a 6.56 ERA over 35 2/3 innings out of the Rockies’ bullpen, with a 23.7% strikeout rate and a mediocre 11.9% walk rate.
Control problems have been an issue for Bowden for much of his career, with an 11.56% walk rate to show for 168 2/3 innings in the minor leagues. However, he has also recorded plenty of strikeouts, and has a solid 3.42 ERA to show for his time on the farm. The 2022 season could act as a microcosm of Bowden’s inconsistency — he posted an 8.22 ERA in 7 2/3 frames with the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate, before delivering a 2.45 ERA for Triple-A Durham after being claimed by the Rays in April.
Even within that improvement with the Bulls, Bowden still has an ungainly 14.4% walk rate. Tampa Bay designated the lefty for assignment in May and then outrighted him off their 40-man roster, so San Francisco and the 28 other teams all opted to pass on Bowden during that stint on the DFA wire.
Bowden has shown enough potential that it is easy to understand why the Giants (a club with a proven knack for developing pitchers) would have interest, especially since the 27-year-old is already a big league-ready arm. With Jose Alvarez on the 60-day injured list until September, Bowden gives the Giants another left-handed depth option for their bullpen at either the MLB or Triple-A level.