Right- hander Marshall Kasowski was selected by the Dodgers in the 13th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of West Texas A&M. The 23-year-old native of Conroe, Texas had transferred to the Division II college after two years with the Division I University of Houston Cougars.
His time with the Cougars was limited to a total of 33 innings over two seasons. Kasowski was injured in a severe car accident in 2015 and spent much of the off season recovering. His accident was not only career threatening it was life threatening. His car had been rear-ended by a high speeding vehicle driving him across the medium strip and leaving his car in a position where he could easily have been broad-sided by oncoming vehicles.
After intense off season rehabilitation, he returned to the field with the Cougars only to have his 2016 season cut short by the accident related gall bladder surgery.
Kasowski did play summer ball in 2015 and 2016 with the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League. During two seasons with the Chinooks he posted a 7-1 record along with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. Over 63.1 innings he struck out 87 and walked 22.
The collegiate summer league helped the 6’3”/215-pound right-hander gain playing time and experience at a high level, time he had missed because of his accident.“I had a lot of fun last summer and wanted to come back again,” says Kasowski. “It feels a lot like professional baseball, from the schedule and level of competition to Kapco [Park] and the coaching staff.”
During the 2016 season , as a starter, Kasowski was named the 2016 Northwoods League Pitcher of the Year. The award is voted on by Northwoods League managers and members of the media. He was also named to the Postseason All-Star team.
After a successful summer with the Chinooks and completely healthy, Kasowski was able to pitch 93 innings with the West Texas A&M Buffaloes during the 2017 college season. He posted a 2.22 ERA along with a 1.07 WHIP. He struck out an eye-popping 165 batters leading the nation in strikeouts and also leading the nation in strikeouts per nine inning at 15.91. He did walk 50.
He was named the 2017 Lone Star Conference Co-Male Athlete of the Year and also was a finalist for the 2017 Brett Tomko Award. The annual award is given to a college baseball pitcher whose on the field performance is deemed the most outstanding at the Division II level.
How did the Dodgers manage to have Kasowski available in the 13th round of last year’s draft? The Dodgers are never unwilling to select players passed over by other teams because a past injury or an impending surgery. He had gone from a Division I to a Division II school and had a bit of a control issue. It seems none of that deterred Billy Gasparino.
“He was one of our favorite pitchers this year, in terms of his performance,” said Dodgers amateur scouting director Billy Gasparino. “It was Division II, but I think he had the highest performance we’ve seen in the last 10 years. He has a unique deception to how he throws the baseball. He has an overhand motion that gives the fastball a lot of rise and creates deception on his secondary pitches. A lot of our guys [compared] him to Josh Collmenter.”
Kasowski began is professional carrier on July 19, 2017 with the Arizona League Dodgers pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts against the Arizona League Reds. He moved on to the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League on August 8 and in six innings struck out six but walked nine.
His 2018 season with the Loons started up much as it had finished during the 2017 season. In his first two appearances over three innings he struck out six but again walked nine.
After those two outings in very cold weather, Kasowski walked but nine hitters over his next 25 innings. On the season with the Loons he proceeded to strike out 49 in his total of 28 innings pitched while posting a 2.57 ERA along with a 1.11 WHIP.
Kasowski was promoted to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League on June 2. Over 5 appearances and 6.1 innings he has posted a 1.42 ERA along with a 0.47 WHIP. He has struck out 12 and walked one. In his last 10 appearances over 15.1 innings he has struck out 26 and walked three. On the season he has given up only 15 hits in 34.1 innings pitched.
As AC has mentioned, Marshall Kasowski is one to watch. The following scouting report was forwarded to me by Chris Vosters, the Loons play-by-play announcer.
“Typically, he sits 88-94 with his fastball and mixes in a curveball around 73. He’s recently been throwing a changeup (maybe 86, but not too often) because hitters are realizing he is fastball dominant. Based on the in-game radar readings I’ve seen lately (which I always take with a grain of salt), his fastball has been a little hotter and has touched 96 and 97. Mechanically, he has a high-noon release that is so dramatic it looks like he’s pulling the ball from behind his ear. It’s my understanding that this makes it difficult for hitters to track along with the above-average spin rate on his heater.”
Kasowski is aware of his deceptive pitching motion.
“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 said.