Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings was drafted three times:
• In 2002, by the Colorado Rockies in the second round (No. 50 overall) out of Gainesville (H.S.), Ga.;
• In 2004, by the Chicago Cubs in the 19th round (No. 576) as a draft-eligible sophomore at Georgia Tech;
• And finally in 2005, by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third round (No. 83) after transferring to Tulane and playing his junior season.
Now in his second major league season, Owings already has developed into a middle-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, one who obviously knows how to handle a bat as well. But how did he project as a major league hitter? Check out Baseball America's scouting reports, written by John Manuel and Jim Callis, leading into each of the three drafts:
From BA's scouting report (ranked No. 142 overall, No. 8 in Louisiana):
Owings has been through the draft twice before. Though he hit 69 homers in high school, fourth all-time in national prep history, the Rockies made him a second-round pick as a right-hander in 2002. He opted instead to attend Georgia Tech, where he continued to star as a two-way player for two seasons. Draft-eligible as a sophomore last season, he slipped to the Cubs in the 19th round because of signability concerns. Owings was the Conference USA player of the year this spring after transferring to Tulane, where he has been the club's leader in both homers (16) and pitching strikeouts (117 in 107 innings). Clubs continue to prefer him as a pitcher. His aggressive approach plays better on the mound than at the plate, where he's prone to strikeouts and causes scouts to question how he'd fare against better pitching. He goes right after hitters on the mound with an 89-91 mph fastball that tops out at 95 and a changeup that can be a plus pitch at times. His ability to throw strikes (his 117-17 strikeout-walk ratio is the fourth-best in NCAA Division I) is another asset. Owings throws a below-average slider and may have to scrap it for a cutter. He doesn't have a dominant out pitch and projects more as a set-up man with a bulldog attitude.
From the early draft preview (ranked No. 17 overall, No. 3 in Georgia):
Owings' raw power ranks with almost any hitter in the draft, but scouts are more intrigued with his fastball/slider.
Micah, draft-eligible as a 21-year-old sophomore, was one of the top sluggers in high school history with 69 home runs (fourth on the all-time list) and has hit in the middle of Georgia Tech's lineup for two seasons. His progress with the bat has made scouts think again about their projections that he would be better as a pro pitcher. He's cut down on his strikeouts, shortened his swing while retaining power and showed the ability to make in-game adjustments, all of which he lacked in 2003. He lacks a true position, though his tools profile for third base, where he has little experience. On the mound, Owings moved to the bullpen for a stretch this spring and showed mid-90s velocity with good life on the fastball, though he pitches at 89-92 mph as a starter with good sinking life. He might profile best as a reliever, where his stuff plays up a grade and his everyday mentality would work. He's a legitimate second-round talent both as a pitcher and as a hitter.
From a report on the best tools in the college game:
Best Raw Power: Georgia Tech RHP/DH Micah Owings has as much raw power as anyone in this year's college class, but there's more interest in the power generated by his fastball.
From a report on the Cape Cod League:
Owings dropped from a Rockies second-round pick out of high school to a Cubs 19th-rounder in 2004 because his signability as a draft-eligible sophomore was in question. Also uncertain is what position he'll play as a pro. Owings' ceiling is higher as a corner outfielder because he can hit baseballs farther than most. But he also has a long swing and is overly aggressive at the plate, so he can be pitched to. He's a safer bet on the mound, though his 89-90 mph sinker and OK slider may make him nothing more than a setup man. The one constant in both roles is his bulldog attitude.
Ranked as the No. 3 H.S. prospect in Georgia
Another Georgia prospect drawing attention from the Braves, Owings should go in the sandwich or second round. He was MVP of the Connie Mack World Series last summer, helping East Cobb claim the championship by hitting a grand slam and earning a save in the semifinals and drilling a three-run homer in the finals. Though he would offer power potential and arm strength as a third baseman, he'll become a full-time pitcher this summer. He works at 88-92 mph and reaches 93-94, and can throw his late-breaking slider for strikes. Owings also has a strong body (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and shows a feel for a changeup. He's not as projectable as some because he was held back a year in school and will turn 20 in September, but his raw stuff is plenty good as it is.