RUDY OWENS
LEFT HANDED PITCHER
Born: December 18, 1987
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 215
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 28th Round, 830th Overall, 2006
How Acquired: Draft
College: Chandler-Gilbert CC
Agent: N/A

Links:

Interview with Rudy Owens
Rudy Owens 8/23/2009 Video Recap
Rudy Owens 9/10/2009 Video Recap
Rudy Owens 9/15/2009 Video Recap

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Owens, who also played OF in HS, was both Player and Pitcher of the Year in his Region, going 4-4, 0.89, with 86 Ks in 56 IP on the mound.  He signed with Arizona State, but went to Chandler-Gilbert CC and signed with the Pirates just before the draft-and-follow deadline.  His JC ERA is a little misleading, as nearly two-thirds of the runs he allowed were unearned, but he obviously wasn’t easy to hit.  He’s not an overpowering pitcher.  He throws a fastball in the 88-93 range.  He’s had periods in which it’s tended to be at either the upper or lower end of that range; in the second half of 2010 it sat at 91-92.  He also has a good change and a decent curve.  His strength is outstanding fastball command.  He’s a mild flyball pitcher.

2007
R:  1-4-0, 5.32 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 22 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Owens had a poor ERA in the GCL, but his peripheral numbers weren’t bad.

2008
A-:  3-6-0, 4.97 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 58 IP, 2.0 BB/9, 7.0 K/9

Pitching in the State College rotation, Owens again had an ERA that was worse than his other numbers, including just two HRs allowed.  LH batters hit only .196 off him while RH batters hit .290.

2009
A:  10-1-0, 1.70 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 100.2 IPO, 1.3 BB/9, 8.1 K/9
A+:  1-1-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 23.1 IP, 0.8 BB/9, 8.5 K/9

Owens had the biggest breakout in the system and one of the biggest anywhere in the minors, earning recognition as the South Atlantic League pitcher of the year.  For long stretches he was nearly untouchable, including one streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings.  He got hit harder, as opponents batted .305 against him.  Fatigue may have been a factor; he significantly exceeded his previous high inning total.  He was outstanding, though, in two playoff starts, allowing two earned runs on eight hits and two walks in 12.1 IP, with 13 Ks.

2010
AA:  12-6-0, 2.46, 0.98 WHIP, 150 IP, 1.4 BB/9, 7.9 K/9

Spent the entire season at Altoona and pitched well all year; his worst monthly ERA was April, at 3.57.  He finished strongly, going 4-0, 0.82 in six August starts.  In fact, in eleven starts in July and August, he walked only six while fanning 65 in 61.1 IP.  He probably would have moved up to AAA late in season, but the Pirates wanted him to pitch in the Eastern League playoffs.

2011
AAA:  9-7-0, 5.05 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 112.1 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 5.7 K/9

Owens struggled in AAA.  He didn’t have a good stretch until July; his monthly ERAs the first three months were 4.50, 5.29, and 6.50.  He got hit hard, with opponents batting .289 against him, and his K rate was down a lot.  His velocity also was down to the upper-80s much of the time.  He finally seemed to be turning things around in July.  He had a 3.57 ERA and his other numbers were good:  35.1 IP, 34 hits, one HR, 12 walks and 30 Ks.  Unfortunately, after getting bombed in his only August start, he went on the disabled list the rest of the year with left shoulder soreness and fatigue.

Owens was widely expected to reach the majors sometime in 2011, but things didn’t work that way.  He was added to the 40-man roster after the season just the same.  He showed some encouraging signs of getting acclimated to AAA in July, so there’s good reason not to write him off.  The question he’ll face is whether he’s another Zach Duke-type finesse pitcher who’s simply too hittable to be successful in the majors.  His shoulder problem was not expected to be a long-term issue.  He’ll open 2012 back at Indianapolis and, this time, hopefully will make it to Pittsburgh.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2012: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $390,000
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2013
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2011
Added to 40-Man: 11/18/2011
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 6, 2006: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 28th round, 830th overall pick; signed as a draft-and-follow on May 30, 2007.
November 18, 2011: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.