Edmonds-Woodway High School baseball alumnus Owen Jones signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday.
According to his mother, Wendy, Jones leaves Sunday morning for Phoenix, where he will report to the Dodgers training facility for a week before going to Ogden, Utah, where he will play single-A ball for the Ogden Raptors.
“They are in the Pioneer League, which plays their games in Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Montana,” Wendy Jones said. “Since Owen is an avid fisherman, this part of the country has great appeal to him. ”
The past year has been very good to the Jones family. In June 2011, Wendy and her husband Greg watched their youngest son, Austin “Bubba” Jones — a 2011 Edmonds-Woodway grad — be drafted in the seventh round by the New York Yankees. Last week, 22-year-old Owen — a redshirt senior playing for the University of Portland — followed suit and was selected in the 19th round by the Dodgers.
Jones, who graduated from E-W in 2007, compiled a team-best 1.24 ERA with 16 saves this season for the Pilots, who finished at 27-25 this season in the West Coast Conference.
Jones, like his younger brother, had a tremendous career at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Owen began his tour for the Warriors as a freshman when Mark Gegax, a junior shortstop at the time, went down with a hand injury. He would go on to win a conference gold glove award that year.
Despite his natural talent as an infielder and hitter, Jones’ coaches found it hard to ignore the development of his arm. In 2012 for the Pilots, he struck out 31 in 29 innings while walking just nine. Jones was also tied for the least amount of earned runs allowed for the Pilots in 2012 with four.
Owen’s success has been especially gratifying, Wendy Jones said, because while playing for the Pilots he had to undergo Tommy John surgery in February 2009, taking a red shirt year to recover. “With Owen getting drafted, I was relieved and happy,” Wendy said. “He had wonderful coaches at University of Portland who allowed him to come back and pitch for them this year as a fifth-year senior.
“Of course Greg and I are proud of both our boys as both of them have worked extremely hard at this and it’s always nice to have such a positive affirmation that your work has been noticed,” she said. “They are both very humble young men and appreciate the opportunity to play pro ball for a living. I am excited that they will always have this bond.”
Wendy Jones called the process of getting drafted “so amazing. So much goes on behind the scenes that nobody knows about.
“I am completely in awe of the scouts that watch these players day in and day out in all kinds of weather,” she said. “Mike Thurman from the Yankees and Hank Jones from the Dodgers will always have a special place in our hearts. I like that the scouts draft kids as much or more based on their character than what they do on the field.”
As for Austin, he is playing rookie ball for the Yankees organization in Florida, but according to his mother has no regrets about giving up a chance to play in college and instead signing with New York. “This week he has watched the school he would have attended — University of Arizona — qualify for the College World Series,” Wendy Jones said. “He tweeted about that today and said ‘I made the right choice’ to play professional ball.”
— By Ian Waldron, EWHS class of 2006