WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes re-signed left-handed pitcher Kevin McGovern on Monday.
Last year, McGovern produced one of the finest seasons by a starting pitcher in both Goldeyes and American Association history. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native was 13-3 in 21 starts with a 2.56 ERA, walking 45 and striking out 118 in 144.1 innings pitched. McGovern ranked tied for first in the league in wins, third in ERA, tied for third in strikeouts, and fifth in innings. The 2.56 ERA ranks third on the American Association’s single-season list and first on the Goldeyes’ single-season list among pitchers with at least 140.0 innings. McGovern was selected to the American Association All-Star Game where he struck out two batters in one and two-thirds scoreless innings against the Can-Am League on July 25th.
McGovern allowed two or fewer earned runs in 13 of his 21 starts, and allowed three or fewer earned runs in 17 of them. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound McGovern pitched at least six innings 19 times (with one of the two exceptions taking place in a game suspended in the fourth inning due to rain), including 13 outings in which he worked at least seven frames. McGovern tossed a four-hit shutout versus Salina on May 24th and completed a three-hit shutout versus Sioux Falls on July 2nd . The left-hander’s six complete games over the last two years rank tied for fifth in Goldeyes’ history, while his 13 wins in 2017 are tied for second on the club’s single-season leader board.
“I’m very excited that Kevin is coming back,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “Kevin is very durable and reliable, and has turned himself into one of the better starters in the league.”
With 103 strikeouts for the Lincoln Saltdogs in 2015 and 125 more for the Goldeyes the following year, McGovern is one of only four pitchers in the 12-year history of the American Association to reach 100-plus strikeouts in three different seasons. McGovern also joins returning teammate Edwin Carl as one of only seven Goldeyes to reach triple digit punchouts in two campaigns.
Additionally, McGovern has delivered when asked to pitch on short rest. The 28-year-old has made seven starts in a Goldeyes’ uniform on three days of rest in which he is 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA. Two of those short rest appearances include the decisive Game Five of the 2016 American Association Championship Series at Wichita, and the clinching Game Four of the 2017 Division Series versus Lincoln. During his two seasons in Winnipeg, McGovern has held the opposition to three earned runs or less in 33 of 42 starts.
McGovern is 35-21 (.625) lifetime in six professional seasons with a 3.88 ERA over 106 games, 81 of them as a starting pitcher. In each of the past four years, McGovern has logged 100.0 or more innings and recorded 100 or more strikeouts. McGovern originally signed with the Frontier League’s traveling Road Warriors in 2012 after finishing his college career at Philadelphia University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). McGovern then pitched briefly for the Can-Am League’s Rockland Boulders in 2013 before experiencing a breakout season in 2014 with the Pecos League’s Trinidad Triggers. McGovern was 5-2 with a 3.81 ERA for Trinidad, and started the 2014 Pecos League All-Star Game. McGovern’s contract was purchased by the Saltdogs that July where he posted a 4.22 ERA in 10 starts, and helped Lincoln reach the American Association Championship Series. McGovern returned to Lincoln in 2015, and was one of just six pitchers in the league that year to make 20 starts, soak up 120.0 or more innings, and strikeout 100 or more hitters.
On January 27th, 2016, the Goldeyes acquired McGovern, along with left-hander Conor Spink and a player to be named later, in exchange for catcher Luis Alen and outfielder Logan Vick. McGovern was 8-3 with a 3.56 ERA and 125 strikeouts (third on the Goldeyes’ single-season list) during his first year in Winnipeg, and won two of the most memorable games in franchise history. In the opener of a double header on the final day of the regular season (September 5th ), McGovern pitched a complete game, two-hitter versus Fargo-Moorhead that allowed the Goldeyes to clinch the American Association wild card. Exactly two weeks later, McGovern started on three days of rest and won Game Five of the Championship Series at Wichita, holding the Wingnuts to two earned runs over six-plus innings. The Goldeyes won the game 11-4 to capture the third championship in team history. Most recently, McGovern received winter ball opportunities in both Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
The Goldeyes now have 14 players under contract for the 2018 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 6th.
Notes: The other three American Association pitchers with three seasons of 100-plus strikeouts are Ben Moore (Sioux Falls 2008-11, 2013), Mark Hamburger (St. Paul 2013, 2016-17), and Tyler Alexander(Fargo-Moorhead 2015-17)…aside from McGovern and Carl, the other five Goldeyes with two seasons of 100-plus strikeouts are Jeff Bittiger (1994-95), Forney (1997-98), Shawn Onley (1999, 2001), Chris Salamida (2010-11), and Matt Rusch (2012-13)…McGovern recorded his 500th career strikeout on August 27th of last year versus Sioux Falls…McGovern posted the American Association’s fourth lowest opponent’s batting average (.221) in 2017, while posting the eighth lowest in the league (.243) in 2016…McGovern ranks second on the Goldeyes’ career ERA list at 3.03 (minimum 192.0 innings pitched)…Rafael Gross holds the Goldeyes’ single-season record for wins with 14 (2001), and is tied with McGovern for second place with 13 (2003)…Bobby Madritsch (153 strikeouts in 2002) and Jeff Zimmerman (140 strikeouts in 1997) rank first and second respectively on the Goldeyes’ single-season list…Brad Purcell holds the fourth spot with 119 strikeouts in 2004
2018 Winnipeg Goldeyes Signings
C Jesse Baker
1B/DH David Bergin
RHP Edwin Carl
RHP Victor Capellan
2B Jordan Ebert
RHP Zach Hartman
LHP Mitchell Lambson
LHP Kevin McGovern
RHP Cameron McVey
OF Jonathan Moroney
RHP Charle Rosario
SS Andrew Sohn
RHP Cody Strayer
RHP Jordan Wellander