What do we do with John Bowker? The young left fielder/first baseman absolutely destroys pitchers at the AAA level, but somehow struggles when he is brought up to the majors. Quite the predicament that still has yet to be settled. Let's break it down statistically to get a better view.
In the past 3 years he has played 152 games at the AAA level, posting a .311 batting average, hitting 32 home runs and 116 RBIs. "Wow," you're thinking, "He is really good, we should call him up." Okay, good idea, let's see how he's done since being called up. His totals from playing in 164 major league games consist of a .238 average with 15 home runs and only 58 RBIs.
Okay so maybe that's not so good, Bowker is only performing well in triple-A, but just not getting any luck in the majors. Why is that? Well he is what we call a "AAAA player" or someone who is too good to be kept in AAA, but not good enough to be a consistent starter in the majors.
That poses the question, "Where do we put him?" Well currently, he is hitting the ball successfully down in AAA. He plays every game, winning Pacific Coast League "Player of the week" awards every now and then and gets no big call up until September.
Another option would be to bring him up and start him every day, much like we did earlier this season. Unfortunately we found out he just cannot hit major league ball like he can in triple-A, so we bench him. He would get spot starts every now and then, and occasionally pinch-hit, but he would get very little playing time compared to AAA.
Its really a lose-lose situation for Bowker this season, but the only way to become a big league starter is to keep performing. If he is consistent, and is eventually called up this September, he could sway Bruce Bochy to put him in the lineup. Once he gets some starts he could slowly prove that he can hit big league pitchers.
As for now, we can wait and see him develop or watch him slump and stay a minor leaguer for his remaining career. Good luck John, and keep it up.