What is your assessment of outfielder John Bowker in the Giants system? Double-A Connecticut has been a graveyard for San Francisco's hitting prospects, yet he seemed to get his prospect status back there. Should we give him extra credit for not only jump-starting his minor league career, but doing so in an extreme pitcher's park? And given that the Pacific Coast League is a hitter's league, what kind of numbers will Bowker have to generate in Triple-A Fresno next summer to be consider a legit major league prospect? What is his ultimate major league potential?
A third-round pick out of Long Beach State in 2004, Bowker is one of the better position prospects in the Giants system. But that speaks more to San Francisco's inventory of up-and-coming hitters than it does to Bowker's true worth.
Bowker had the best season of his pro career in 2007, hitting .307/.363/.523 with 22 homers and 90 RBIs in 139 games at Double-A Connecticut. Though he played mostly right field and saw some time in center, he's a below-average arm who's best suited for left field. His bat will have to carry him and the jury is still out on whether it can, because he doesn't control the strike zone very well (103 strikeouts vs. 41 walks) and at 24 he wasn't young for his level.
As Lyle noted, Bowker deserves credit for performing in a tough pitcher's park. The Defenders posted a .639 OPS and 2.84 ERA at Dodd Memorial Stadium, compared to a .766 OPS and 4.61 ERA on the road. He could put up even bigger numbers in Triple-A, and if he does, the Giants almost assuredly will give him a big league chance in 2008. Like Moore, Bowker is more of a reserve on a good club and not a player of great long-term value.