NORMAN — Jake Jewell was never an overwhelming pitcher while has was at Norman High. But he was a solid starter and gave the Tigers plenty of reliable innings, innings in which he impressed enough to earn a chance to play baseball at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
And his time at Northeastern progressed much the same way. He struggled some in his freshman year at the school before finding his niche in the bullpen last season, making 24 appearances while posting a 2.36 ERA and striking out 32 batters in 31 innings.
He continued to pitch when the season ended, advancing to the National Baseball Congress World Series with the Hutchinson Monarchs while impressing both his coaches with a fastball that’s topped out at 97 miles per hour. He also has a slider and changeup he has shown success throwing.
“He’s a big kid who throws hard,” Monarchs coach Deron McCue said. “That’s kind of what they’re looking for. He had a pretty good season at NEO, and he pitched well for us at the NBC last year.”
That was also enough to impress Major League Baseball scouts, and last week the Anaheim Angels were so impressed they made Jewell their fifth-round pick in the MLB draft.
The Angels loaded up on pitchers early in this year’s draft, selecting five pitchers in five rounds, with Jewell capping that run. The team plans to give him a chance to return to his role as a starter, though scouts envision him becoming a bullpen player for the team.
“All of their deliveries are very good, their arms work really good, they’ve got multiple pitches they can throw for strikes, they can use both sides of the plate,” Angels scouting director Ric Wilson said of this year’s class. “So we’re going to give them every opportunity to start. As time goes on, they’ll find their home. But they’re going to learn to pitch as they first get out.”