If Jackson Kowar has any questions before his major league debut, he can just turn to his former college teammate.
The right-hander, one of Kansas City’s’ top prospects, is scheduled to start Monday night when the Royals open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
Kowar was selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2018 draft, 15 spots after the Royals took University of Florida teammate Brady Singer. They were in the rotation together when the Gators won the 2017 College World Series.
“We spent a lot of time together, lot of years together,” Singer said Sunday. “Met each other behind our dorm room at Florida, pulled my truck right up there behind the door. Lot of good memories with him. Couldn’t be more excited. I’m definitely stoked. One of my best friends in the world, coming from Florida and now here in the big leagues.”
Singer reached the majors last year and is 7-9 with a 4.51 ERA in 23 career starts.
Kowar was dominating at Triple-A Omaha this season, going 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA in six starts. He struck out 41 over 31 2/3 innings with 10 walks and didn’t allow a home run. He was named the Triple-A East Pitcher of the Month for May.
“It’s not a secret that Jackson has been extremely good so far this year,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “His stats would support how he’s throwing and what we’re hearing from our development people. It’s his time, and we’re excited to get him out here and watch him help us be a part of what we’re doing.”
The Royals will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak. They were defeated 2-1 at home Sunday by Minnesota as shortstop Nicky Lopez hit into a triple play while trying to put down a bunt.
“Triple plays normally don’t fare too well especially in close games,” Matheny said. “It was the right idea, but unfortunately we just did not have the right execution.”
The Angels are scheduled to start right-hander Dylan Bundy (0-6, 6.49 ERA), who is winless in his 10 starts this season. Bundy is 1-2 with a 4.20 ERA in eight career appearances against the Royals, including seven starts. He suffered a 3-2 loss at Kansas City on April 13 despite allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in seven innings, with two walks and six strikeouts.
The Angels lost 9-5 Sunday to Seattle despite Justin Upton’s leadoff home run in the first inning.
Upton struggled early in the season, but has batted .333 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 11 games atop the Angels’ lineup.
“I’ve had power guys in the past struggle, and most of the time, they get moved down in the batting order, but with a guy of his pedigree, I wanted to move him up and give him a different mindset to work with,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s looking more to the middle of the field and trying to get on base. He’s trying to hit singles, but he knows his power is there and he’s shown that, too.
“Just a different seat on the deck and a different way to look at things.”
–Field Level Media