Once a first-round pick and top-100 prospect, Dustin McGowan has already battled back from the brink once. But he won’t be launching another effort to reestablish himself in the majors — unless, perhaps, some of the kids he’ll soon be coaching can put him up to the task.
McGowan is taking over the dugout for a local high school club in the Tallahassee area, Joey Lamar of WCTV reports. The former first-round draft pick, top-100 prospect, and ten-year MLB veteran is obviously looking to participate in the game in a different capacity rather than trying one last go at the bigs.
This is hardly a surprise, given that the 38-year-old McGowan last appeared professionally in 2017. Still, it’s nice to put a bow on a career when it becomes apparent that it has come to an end.
McGowan was long seen as an intriguing talent on the mound, having ranked among the hundred best prospects in the game (by measure of Baseball America) on four occasions. While he had his moments in the majors, he was never fully able to translate the promise into consistent productivity at the game’s highest level.
It’s impossible to ignore the role that health issues had in shaping McGowan’s career. Drafted 33rd overall by the Blue Jays in 2000, he was climbing the ladder nicely before Tommy John surgery in 2004. He bounced back to regain top prospect billing, but yet more woes arose thereafter. McGowan underwent a shoulder labrum surgery in 2008, had his knee operated on in 2009, and underwent rotator cuff work in 2010. He also required another shoulder procedure in 2012.
McGowan showed quite a bit of promise in 2007, when he took the ball 27 times and turned in a 4.08 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 over 169 2/3 innings. And he was throwing well enough in the ensuing campaign … before the ball-and-socket issues arose. McGowan never again turned in significant innings from the rotation.
Though his time in Toronto ended largely in disappointment, McGowan did have one last hurrah left in the tank. In 2016, with the Marlins, he worked to a 2.82 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 67 frames. He came back to Miami for the 2017 season but wasn’t able to replicate the success, and we haven’t heard from McGowan since.
MLBTR wishes McGowan and his new ballclub the best of luck.