Jase Bowen - Taking one step at a time

J. Patrick Eaken

At the same time Curtice native and Oakland Athletics pitcher Chris Bassitt is playing in his first MLB All-Star Game, Northwood native Jase Bowen is just beginning his quest.

It took Bassitt a decade from the point he was drafted to get to where he is now. Bowen, who played high school baseball for coach Jeff Mielcarek at Central Catholic, is in his second season in the minors.

Bowen has already made the move up, getting promoted by the Pirates this year. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-handed second baseman, who will turn 21 in September, was drafted by the Pirates in the 11th round as the 334th overall pick in 2019. He immediately began playing pro ball that summer.

This year, Bowen has been promoted from the Gulf Coast Pirates of the Rookie League to the low-Class A Bradenton Marauders, where he is batting .223 (39 for 175) with eight home runs, four doubles, two triples, 31 runs, 29 RBIs, seven stolen bases and a .327 on base percentage.

Bowen played in 36 games with the Gulf Coast Pirates in 2019 with 147 plate appearances. He batted .223 (29 for 130) with a .301 on base percentage, .315 slugging percentage and .617 OPS (on base plus slugging). He had four doubles, four triples, seven RBIs, five stolen bases, and 14 walks.

 “You can really tell that there is a big change, not only physically, but mentally it’s really big. Every day was a learning opportunity, and I took it as that. I kind of fought through it. I had a great time and I loved it every day. It’s really the thing I wanted to do so I was pumped,” Bowen said.

He even got his first professional walk-off hit.

“At the plate, I had a walk-off and that was really cool,” Bowen said. “My teammates came out and threw Gatorade on me, which was really fun. It was an extra base hit in the gap. It was awesome.”

However, Bowen played no professional baseball in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic. He is just glad to be back at it.

“It is awesome. Last year sucked,” Bowen said. “You had to really go out and find a way to get your work in, so this year it’s fun to be with teammates. We’re starting to get close now, and as the season gets going, we are having a lot of fun playing and it is something I’ve been doing a lot. It is awesome to get out there and get the opportunity to compete with other teams and gel with your teammates.”

The biggest issue for many players entering the professional ranks is getting used to facing professional pitching.

“At first, it was really tough. I had not seen a lot of pitching for over a year and then I tried to settle in a little bit,” Bowen said. “We got some scouting reports out and obviously we are seeing a lot more curve balls and sliders and that kind of stuff, so learning how to hit that is the next step. It is fun though. It is a challenge every day and it is what I signed up for. It is a blast — I love it. I love the challenge. I am hoping to get better every day.”

Bowen says the entire experience is about learning to become a professional baseball player, in more ways than one. He says the training facilities are “awesome”, but there are other lessons to learn.

“You just learn how to positively play the game of baseball at a professional level. There is a lot of baseball IQ there that they want us to know and at this level it is really about learning the game and how to handle your body. That way you stay healthy and can get through a full season because it is not an easy thing to do,” Bowen said.

Bowen played shortstop at Central, but like many other draftees who played shortstop, he goes “wherever they want to put me.” At Bradenton, he is listed as a second baseman, but has played third base, left field, and starting this week he will play right field.

Plus, there is the human side of the game — being with his teammates around the clock.

“There are some guys on my team that I am really close with — (outfielders) Sammy Siani and Hudson Head are my roommates,” Bowen said. “We are really close, and we have a great bond. It is a lot of fun playing with them. 

“They are two high school guys like me and we are about the same age, drafted in the same class, so it is a lot of fun playing with them. There are a lot of other guys I love playing with. We have a lot of Latin players, so the language barrier is hard sometimes, but it is something we are learning every day how to communicate.”

Plus, at Bradenton, he is finding there is a strong fan base, more than he ever played in front of at Central.

“The fans are cool,” Bowen said. “People are paying to see you play so that is really cool and signing autographs is awesome. It is something I have always wanted to do since I was a little kid.”

His parents Ryan and Robin made the trip to Florida twice, and the second time they brought his grandparents.

“I got to see all of them, which is awesome, and they got to see some baseball games. It was pretty cool,” Bowen said.











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