The Norman Transcript

June 12, 2014

Improvement lands Jewell high in MLB draft

By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript

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.”

While at Northeastern, Jewell was named all-region along with two other teammates, and several of them also went in last week’s draft. While Jewell went in the fifth round, pitcher Dean Deetz was picked in the 11th round by the Houston Astros, who also took Ramon Laurean five rounds later.

It was quite the haul for the junior college, something that NEO coach Roger Ward said was a accomplishment for the program.

“I am very proud of all three of these young men,” he said. “As a coaching staff, it’s always humbling to have even one player selected, but this is the most I’ve had in my 16 years at NEO.”

Corbin Hosler

Follow me @corbinhosler

chosler@normantranscript.com

 

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