2016 was as good a bounceback season as Dustin McGowan could have hoped for. He posted a 2.82 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 67 innings for the Marlins, finishing with a record of 1-3 and 1-for-2 on save opportunities. Those numbers provided a stark contrast to his 6.94 ERA and 2.10 WHIP throughout 23.3 innings for the Phillies. The former starter improved so significantly in 2016 due to large improvements in his groundball and flyball percentages. His groundball percentage increased to 54.4 percent, up from a 38.7 average in 2014 and 2015. His flyball rate dropped to the lowest of his career. 28.3 percent, 7.1 percent lower than his career average. He also gained 1.2 mph on his fastball average from the previous season, hitting an average of 94.8 on the radar gun in 2016. He'll be back in a similar role after re-signing with the Marlins during the offseason.
McGowan signed a one-year contract with the Marlins on Wednesday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. A non-roster invitee to major league camp last spring, McGowan earned himself a major league contract this offseason on the strength of the a 2.82 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 67 innings for the Marlins. He wasn't a big factor in the late innings, however, racking up just three holds and one save, and it's hard to imagine he'll see a big increase in high-leverage work especially with Miami rumored to be in the market for back-end relievers.
McGowan has allowed five earned runs over 11.1 innings pitched in August. In that span, McGowan has picked up one loss, a blown save, and a hold. The eight-year veteran has also seen his ERA balloon from 2.83 to 3.08 during that time. Unless McGowan can boost his 0.96 K:IP, he offers little fantasy value.
McGowan tossed a pair of scoreless innings in Wednesday's loss to the Phillies, allowing one hit with two strikeouts. The veteran reliever holds a solid 3.03 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over 35.2 innings pitched this season. He has not allowed a run over his last five appearances and boasts a strong 33:13 K:BB ratio . The back end of the Marlins' bullpen is fairly set, but the veteran has pitched well enough to take on a larger role if needed.
McGowan pitched a perfect 12th inning while striking out one to notch his first save of the year Friday at the Braves. After AJ Ramos blew a save opportunity in the ninth inning, McGowan was given a two-run lead in the twelfth inning, and had no problem closing the door on the Braves. The setup man now holds a 3.45 ERA to go along with a 1.02 WHIP on the season.
McGowan fired three scoreless innings in relief during Sunday's loss to the Diamondbacks, allowing just one hit and one walk with four strikeouts. The Marlins never had a chance with starter Adam Conley yielding four runs in the bottom of the first inning. McGowan helped to save the rest of the bullpen by breezing through three innings of mop-up work. The veteran reliever has compiled a 2.95 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 20 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched for Miami in middle relief.