Rudy Owens knows the path he wants to take. Now it’s a matter of whether the pros will supply a first step. Owens, a hard-throwing left-hander and recent graduate of Mesa High School, stands a good chance of having his name called in the first 15 rounds of the baseball amateur draft, which begins today and continues through Wednesday.
‘‘I’m ready to get drafted,” Owens said. ‘‘It depends on what round I go in and the signing bonus. I do want to go pro.’’
Owens, who played three varsity seasons for the Jackrabbits, posted his best season this year with a 4-4 record and a 0.89 ERA. He pitched 55 innings and struck out 86 with excellent control. In 155 innings in his prep career, he fanned 215.
‘‘He’s a well-grounded kid,’’ Owens’ high school coach, Steve Gourde, said. ‘‘I know a lot of teams have shown interest and have been crosschecking, which is usually a sign they want to draft you.’’
Owens has signed with Arizona State and Chandler-Gilbert Community College, so he has options available. Mesa High has seen a couple of players in the last decade reach the majors, most notably righthanded pitcher Mike MacDougal, a closer with Kansas City. Jeremy Accardo was converted from an infielder to a pitcher in college and reached the majors last year. He is a reliever for San Francisco.
There are several other East Valley players with hopes in today’s draft.
Mesquite coach Jeff Holland is optimistic that outfielder Ronnie Welty could be drafted in the first 10 rounds. Holland said Welty went to Florida last week to work out for the Yankees, one of the teams interested.
In addition to Owens and Welty, Charles Brewer and Jason Jarvis of Chaparral have a shot to be drafted in the first 15 rounds.
Others expected to be drafted are Coronado pitcher Craig Heyer, now with the Community College of Southern Nevada. Heyer has been drafted each of the last two seasons by the Diamondbacks. Others are University of Arizona left-handed pitcher Brad Mills (Mountain View), Chandler-Gilbert Community College infielder Julian Laurean (Hamilton), Chandler-Gilbert CC left-handed pitcher Brandon Thomson (Gilbert High) and Yavapai College infielder Dustin Kaats (Desert Mountain).