Pittsburgh Pirates President Doesn’t Understand Snub

Pirates minor league standout Rudy Owens has been absent in most top MLB prospects lists.

Pirates President Frank Coonelly  always seems to be cool, calm, and collected.   So at PirateFest, it was pretty cool to see Pirates President Frank Coonelly get about as fired up as we have ever seen him.  Now remember fired up is relative with Coonelly.  Still it was great to see.

And even better for you, we had a video camera rolling to capture all the action.  The reason behind Coonelly getting on a roll? 

Frank loves him some Rudy Owens.

Maybe Frank loves the perm?

He especially loves Owens because it seems few others are showing their appreciation for what Owens has done in the minor leagues the past two seasons.  Coonelly brought up the comparision with a player who gets much more acclaim from the baseball pundits–Kyle Drabek. 

To us it seems three things got under Coonelly’s skin when it comes to Owens. 

Number one is why numerous prospect rankings failed to even recognize the skills and production from Owens.  This seemed to generally shock Coonelly and it was easy to tell it pissed him off. 

Number two, as Coonelly said, “somehow Kyle Drabek won the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.”  He said this in a respectful manner, but it’s very obvious he wasn’t happy about it.    Some say Drabek earned the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year award because of his dominance.  He has been described as a power pitcher.  So if Drabek is dominant what is your perception of Owens?

You better take a close look at this, because it surprised us.

Drabek had a 2.94 ERA  while Owens bested him with a 2.46.  Drabek ranked first in wins with 14 while Owens had 12.  Drabek was off to bigger and better by the time Owens and the Curve won the EL Championship.  Drabek finished third in ERA and was also tied for third in strikeouts.  Owens whiffed 132 hitters over 150 innings while Drabek pitched 12 more innings, but ended up with the same number of strikeouts as Owens-132 .

Drabek held the opposition to a .215 batting average to lead the EL  while Owens dominated in walk rate with a mere 1.4 while Drabek had a 3.8BB/9.  It’s impressive stuff for Owens and certainly makes baseball fans scratch their heads after taking a look at the impressive numbers the 22-year old perm rocking, left hander put up last year. 

Lastly, Coonelly took responsibility by stating the Pirates must do a better job of promoting talented players within their system like Owens.  One thing rings clear, Coonelly could get the last laugh if Owens continues to produce and there is no reason to think Owens will let the Pirates down if he continues to develop his pitches.

Check it out for yourself:

So what’s the deal?  Why do you think Drabek gets the love?   Is it because he has five pitches while Owens is still working on a few of his, or is it simply like Coonelly said and the Bucs must do a better job to build some hype around their prospects?  Check out some of the recent rankings below.

MLB Top 50–Owens is absent.

Keith Law’s Top 100 has Drabek at number 12 while Owens is absent. Law was kind enough to place Owens as number five in the Pirates organization.

Pirates Top 10 Prospects by Keith Law

Is it because Owens was a draft and follow while Drabek was a first round pick? Is it because Drabek’s ‘upside’ is just insanely better than Owens? Is it hype?  Drabek pitched 17 innings in the majors last year.  Does that prove he is the better talent?  You tell me.

The Pirates protected Owens from being over used last year. This season the Pirates will be able to reach into AAA for pitching assistance instead of plucking pitchers, like Dana Eveland, from the scrap heap (hat tip to Leadoff.) Not overusing their arms last season despite winning a AA Championship will loom large for the Pirates in 2011.  Remember this video?

Take a look at the stats of Owens and Drabek  from Baseball Reference below.  It’s rather easy to argue that Frank Coonelly has a strong case.

Kyle Drabek--click on the chart for a larger version

Rudy Owens--click on the chart for a larger version

Topics: Frank Coonelly, Kyle Drabek, Pirates Blog, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Pirates Blog, Rudy Owens

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  • http://www.pittsburghsportstaver.com Kipper

    That perm owns. If Ownes makes it, some “Rock the perm” merch with an Owens silhouette would be killer!

    I think you answered the question about why Drabek is rated better, higher and winning awards despite not having the numbers that makes him a clear cut winner and favorite. At least not enough that there’s such a big gap between him and a guy like Rudy Owens ..

    1. His Upside is better
    2. He was Drafted #1

    1. These lists, and everything in the minors and with the minors is heavily reliant on personal projection and upside and so much of that is based on what a few “experts” claim. It’s not fair, these guys have a lot of misses, projection is really guess work no matter how many people try to claim that they can analyze every stat and every ounce of a player live for personal “accuracy”.

    2. These picks are rated by the experts. It’s why you’ve heard Neal and Frank, maybe it was one or the other talk about how they have their own ranking system and that is based on what their scouts and such evaluate. These guys are paid to do this by an MLB team. These “experts” are paid to do this for some media outlet. Bottom line is that if you made someone a #1 in your draft rankings, you want them to continue to look good because it makes your “expertise” look good and that is what these guys jobs rely on. There’s more importance for Keith Law to push Kyle Drabek than Rudy Owens despite the facts that state otherwise in player vs. player evaluation

    • http://rumbunter.com Tom Smith

      As always great stuff Kipper , loved this factoid the best…..

      “These “experts” are paid to do this for some media outlet. Bottom line is that if you made someone a #1 in your draft rankings, you want them to continue to look good because it makes your “expertise” look good and that is what these guys jobs rely on.”

  • Leadoff

    There are a couple of reasons for Drabek over Owens, but the most important is their value, Drabeck has already brought a big fish in a trade to Philly, Owens is not going to bring anythng in a trade right now.
    The question about which one is better or how far they are apart has nothng to do with their value.
    Tallion has not thrown a pitch and he is the jewel in the Pirate system.

  • Eugene Tober

    The reason why the Buc prospects get snubbed is obvious. They haven’t had a winning record in eighteen seasons.

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