Is He for Real? San Francisco Giants' Sensation John Bowker Makes Big Debut

Kyle GoingsContributor IApril 19, 2008

The fraternity of former San Francisco Giants hitters includes some of the game's most elite players of all time.  Barry Bonds and Willie Mays are members, as are Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey.

The list goes on, but none of these revered players can claim what John Bowker can.

That's because Bowker, the 24 year-old outfielder who made his MLB debut for the Giants just one week ago, became the first San Francisco player to hit home runs in his first two major league games.  

Hitting in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, Bowker cranked two nearly identical shots over the arcade in right field.  In those two games, the final two of a weekend series with St. Louis, the left-handed Bowker was 4-for-6, with two home runs and seven RBI.

After only two games, he had eclipsed all but one of his teammates (Benji Molina) on the RBI chart.

Playing in a city in need of a little home run spark, Bowker has become an instant fan favorite in San Francisco.  With three other capable outfielders (Aaron Rowand, Randy Winn, and Fred Lewis) on his current roster, Manager Bruce Bochy has sent Bowker to first base in attempt to keep his hot bat in the lineup.

Six games into his big league career, he is batting .412.

Bowker, whose 6'2", 190-pound frame looks like anything but that of a power hitter, surprisingly hit 22 home runs last season for AA Connecticut, which plays in another pitcher-friendly park.

A selection in the 2004 draft, the Sacramento native holds 48 long balls and 250 RBI in his minor league career.  He has a .296 lifetime batting average, with 110 doubles and 16 triples.

With a swing that has already drawn compliments and comparisons to Will "the Thrill" Clark from Giant commentators Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper, Bowker appears capable of becoming an everyday player.

It's unlikely that he will keep hitting at his current pace, but he has the potential to be a very disciplined gap-to-gap hitter. 

Whether we'll include John Bowker's name with those of Mays and Bonds in 40 years is yet to be seen.  But one thing is for sure: San Francisco needs a new hero.  

For now, Bowker is only a rookie in his first week of big league ball.  But what a week it was!