With all the attention that’s been placed upon the Dodgers‘ big league pitching staff during the first-half of the season, the conversations surrounding both the bullpen and starting rotation have been endless. Many folks familiar with the team sometimes scan the rosters of the minor league affiliates daily in search of an emerging arm which could potentially contribute at the major league level.
One of our loyal readers, the venerable Jeff D., recently brought to our attention the progress of Marshall Kasowski, who was recently promoted to the High-A Rancho Cucamonga bullpen. Against Inland Empire last Sunday, the 23-year-old righty recorded the first minor league save of his career, throwing 1-1/3 innings of perfect baseball with two strikeouts.
And speaking of strikeouts, his career 15.07 K/9 rate in the minors is what’s been garnering him the most attention.
For those unfamiliar with Kasowski, he was drafted by the Dodgers in the 13th round of last year’s MLB draft out of West Texas A&M, not long after being named the 2017 Lone Star Conference Co-Male Athlete of the Year. The Conroe, TX native led the nation in strikeouts in 2017 by breaking the school and the conference season record with 165 as his team won the LSC Baseball Tournament Championship. He also topped the nation in strikeouts per nine innings at 15.91.
Kasowski became the highest drafted player in WT Baseball history and was a finalist for the Brett Tomko Award, which recognizes the best Division II pitcher in the country. Tallying a 9-5 record and a 2.22 ERA for West Texas in 2017, he pitched a team-high 93-1/3 innings, allowing just 50 hits and 23 earned runs as opponents hit a team-low .156 against him. Kasowski also registered 11 games of double-digit strikeouts, including a school-record 17 on March 24, 2017.
After surviving a horrific car accident at the end of 2015, Kasowski says the experience changed him as a person. He has become a gym rat in hopes of using strength to improve his pitching performance, and he has also become a motivational speaker in hopes of passing along his personal revelations.
“I don’t look at it as something that set me back,” Kasowski told J.J. Cooper of Baseball America last summer. “I’m a lot more mature. I work a lot smarter on and off the field. It matured me as a person. It made me appreciate the small things in life. I don’t take success for granted.”
Not long after being drafted by the Dodgers, Kasowski was thrown right into the minor league fire, having been jettisoned to the Arizona Rookie League where he made four appearances, throwing 5-1/3 frames of one-hit baseball with nine strikeouts in the process. Impressed with what they saw from the righty, scouting directors immediately promoted him to Low-A Great Lakes, where he made another five appearances to finish his campaign.
He began his 2018 season with the Great Lakes, but was promoted to Rancho after making 15 appearances with the Loons, throwing an even 28 innings with 49 punchouts. Since being bumped up to High-A ball, Kasowski has appeared in four games and has posted a 1.69 ERA after surrendering just two hits over 5-1/3 innings of work.
While he has allowed 19 walks in 33-1/3 total innings this season, it’s not an uncommon number for a pitcher at the Single-A level, as his command is something he can certainly improve upon as he continues to climb the organizational ladder.
As far as his repertoire goes, Kasowski’s bread and butter is undoubtedly his heater, which sits in the low-to-mid nineties, sometimes topping out as high as 96 MPH. But it’s his unorthodox delivery which caught the eye of the major league scouts. He throws from a slot right next to his ear, which creates a very deceptive motion that leads to him missing plenty of bats.
“I don’t know how I got to that point. I know I’m coming through my ear. I’ve been blessed with a funky motion,” Kasowski told Cooper.
Either way, at the rate he continues to strikeout batters and progress through the system, Kasowski’s ascension to the top of the minor league depth chart may be a quick one.
And considering the current need for organizational bullpen help, his timing couldn’t be any better.
16 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: A Closer Look at Rancho’s Marshall Kasowski”
Sounds like the Dodgers might have another potential “unicorn” on their hands in this Kasowski guy. Can’t wait to see him up in the bigs just so I can see that unique pitching motion for myself. Can’t keep striking out hitters at a high rate as long as he has unless there’s either one overpowering pitch involved or a delivery so deceptive that it throws hitters off everytime they step into the box. Wish him the best of luck as also I read up on that horrific car accident that nearly took his life not too long ago. Glad to know he’s turned himself around for the better…
Thanks for the writeup Dennis. You really found some interesting stuff. With the exception of some people in Texas, readers of TBPC may be the only people who know Kasowski exists at this point. Certainly there aren’t very many Dodger fans who know about him. He’ll be our discovery and we can take credit when he’s voted Fireman of the Year for 2020.
Hey Manuel, sorry about Banuelos not getting a shot tonight, but don’t give up, we’ll see him eventually.
There’s not much material published about him, that’s for sure.
Jeff D, I know we will anyway if this year’s Dodger pitching staff has anything left to say about it (lol). Gotta hand it to the rookie Ferguson who made his second start for the parent club last night, though. He looked a whole lot better than he did back in Pittsburgh when he couldn’t calm himself down on the mound in time and taxed himself right out of the 2nd inning s a result. Only downside was that manager Roberts pulled him right after the 4th even though he had plenty left in the tank to go the mandatory 5 and qualify for the win. Daniel Corcino also looked solid for his first 3-inning save as well. Did get hosed a bit on a pitch that the homeplate ump could’ve easily called Strike 3 to end the game, but still managed to get it done. His pitches move quite a bit, too. Grandal was having an adventure getting his mitt on a few of ’em in that 8th.
Back to Kasowski, yeah that guy’s on the fast-track or should be if management hasn’t been paying enough attention to his performance so far this season. Would be shocked if he’s not at AA Tulsa by the start of the 2nd half…
OKC puts Banuelos on the Temporary Inactive list. Anybody know what that means or what the criteria are vs the DL?
Used at the team’s discretion for bereavement leave, family events which require a player to be away from his team, or other non-injury related reasons.. Players placed on the temporary inactive list must remain on the list for a minimum of three consecutive days.
Max Muncy finally starting at 2B tonight.
Yes! What we’ve been waiting for. I hope they give him a few games there to see if they can live with his fielding. One game won’t tell them much, one way or the other.
As far as Banuelos and the T.I.L is concerned, rumor has it that he totally lost it when he heard they were giving Caleb another start instead of bringing him up. He destroyed the entire clubhouse and threatened to set his Dodger cap on fire, so they sent him to Cabo for 3 days to cool off. (And if even one person reading this is wondering if I’m kidding, the answer is yes)
Buehler to DL with rib microfracture. No timetable for his return yet. I’m getting the feeling that ol’ Walker is a pretty tough dude. He pitched a fair amount of innings in 2 games after getting hit with that line drive. The more I see of him, the more he seems like a good successor to Kershaw, whenever that might happen.
Our new favorite Kasowski threw 11 pitches tonight which resulted in 3 outs, 2 of those being strike outs. Got the save. If I may, I’d like to suggest a nickname for him, “The Big K”. It seems appropriate.
Jeff… You should keep a running line of Kasowski’s stats since he became the closer at Rancho. Maybe we could publish another story a few weeks from now if he continues his domination.
I usually check the RC box score every day, so I can try to keep up with him, but you realize that by doing so we’ll totally jinx any chance he ever had of making it. Remember my old friend Chargois? I may have ruined his career by becoming a huge fan of his. I feel so guilty.
Friedman knew what he had when he signed Chargois. Instead of about 1-in-every-350, I think he expects about 1-in-every-7 to turn out like Morrow.
As long as we’re trying to identify future HOF relievers now playing at Rancho, I have another potential candidate: Zach Pop, 7th round draft choice out of U of Ky last year. First of all, I like his name, secondly he’s split the year just about evenly between GL and RC so far and has the following line: 33 innings, 40 k, 10 bb, .178 bat avg against, 0.93 WHIP. He’s 21, 6’4″, 220. Dennis (or anyone else), do you have access to any further background on the Popster?