In the 12th round of the 2015 MLB draft, the Milwaukee Brewers took a southpaw out of Tennessee by the name of Drake Owenby.
In his first season in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, Owenby threw for a cumulative 7.46 ERA. After that, a switch was flipped. In the two seasons since, he has not shown an ERA over 3.35. His career K/BB ratio is also very impressive, 148/48.
Though he is not well known, he is pitching very well. Should he continue on his current trajectory, the 24 year old will soon be on the radar. For now, Owenby was nice enough to answer some questions for Reviewing the Brew.
Q: So first off before we get into anything baseball, your Twitter bio says you are professional Call of Duty player, is that true? Or are you just an aficionado?
Drake Owenby: “That’s actually true. I wasn’t playing big time, but I did for a little bit last offseason. I was in Arizona rehabbing an injury and had a lot of time on my hads after the day was over at the complex, and started really gaming then.”
Q: You were drafted and signed after your junior year at Tennessee. Was it a difficult decision to not return for you senior year and potentially raise your draft stock?
Drake Owenby: “Yeah, it was defintely a very hard decision. Going to Tennessee is the best decision I ever made. Leaving my teammates and coaches early for the draft was a very hard decision for me. I will always call it home, but I knew my ultimate dream is to play in the big leagues. And I felt it was time for me to chase that dream.”
Q: Right after the draft, you struggled in the first season. But in your second and third years you proved to be a very solid pitcher. What changed between the first year struggles, and the success since?
Drake Owenby: “I’d say just relearning how to really pitch again. It’s not that I did anything crazy to fix my first year. The thing about that is I was used to facing college hitters. Those guys are a lot more patient at the plate and are really trying to put a quality at bat together to get on base.
When I first arrived in pro ball, I sort of thought it would be kind of the same, but it was a very different game. If you throw enough strikes early in the game, then guys are going to swing at it, rather then take and try to make you work a little harder. Kind of hard to explain, but the game is just a little different once you make that jump.”
Q: Learning that has done great things for your game. In 44 games played in the minors, you’ve started just 24. You’ve never really only started or only relieved, does that inconsistency make it harder to succeed?
Drake Owenby: “No, I don’t think it does at all. I love startnig games because I am a starter. I also love to come in relief for the guy before me. You learn a lot from each situation. I’ve learned a lot from being both a starter and reliever.”
Q: Despite any success you’ve had, you are still an under the radar kind of prospect. Does that have any effect on how you play?
Drake Owenby: “Yes, of course it does. It does for everyone, I think. Everyday you have to prove yourself. Every time I take the mound I’m out there to prove everyone who skipped over me wrong. It’s definetly a motivator, but I think it’s that way for everyone who didn’t go in the first round.”
Q: At any level, is there a game you pitched that you would consider more memorable than any other?
Drake Owenby: “Yes, I would say it was 2016 against Kane County. I was the back end of the tandem that day, because we had a guy rehabbing, and I came in after the fourth and threw five scoreless against them with like 12 strikeouts or something like that. I only remember that because I hadn’t ever struck that many guys out, except for high school…probably.”
The lefty pitcher is just having fun playing the game. Everytime he touches the mound, it is an opportunity to show he belongs in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. And so far he certainly does. A thank you goes out to Drake Owenby for taking the time to talk to us!