Choctaws’ Fowler selected by the Rangers in 26th round
The call he had been waiting on since the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft came on Wednesday afternoon as former Dyer County standout Jordan Fowler was selected with the 794th pick in the 26th round by the Texas Rangers.
“It always feels good to hear your name called out,” Fowler said. “I’m just as glad I am going to Ole Miss.”
In a season where multiple scouts were present at each of the 6-3 lefthander’s starts, Fowler accumulated a 10-1 record in 11 starts, appearing in 12 total games during the 2017 campaign. In his final campaign with the Choctaws, Fowler struck out 116 batters while allowing less than one earned run per outing. During the season where he pitched in just under 73 innings, Fowler only walked 14 batters.
After being selected on Wednesday, the decision for Fowler became whether he would negotiate with the Rangers, a team which he worked out for earlier this month in Arlington, or if he opt not to sign with Texas and head to the Southeastern Conference and pitch next season for the University of Mississippi Rebels, who he signed with back in November. Fowler said on Wednesday evening he plans to head to college and play for the Rebels after going through his first experience with the MLB Draft.
“It was definitely stressful fielding those calls on my part from all those people,” Fowler said.
According to the MLB first-year draft rules, regardless of his decision, Fowler’s rights will be retained by the Texas Rangers until 11:59 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 15, or until he enters, or returns to, a four-year college on a full-time basis. A player who is drafted and does not sign with the club that selected him may be drafted again at a future year's draft, so long as the player is eligible for that year's draft. A club may not select a player again in a subsequent year, unless the player has consented to the re-selection.
Fowler will be eligible for the draft again after his junior and senior seasons with the Rebels.
“Any time a kid in your program has options to have a chance to play professional baseball, it’s great,” Dyer County head coach Preston Ozment said. “I knew it would be his decision whether he wanted to go through the draft or go to college – that was going to be a decision.
“I think he was just letting it play out. There were calls being made during the draft about different options he had. At the end of the day, he’s going to make the best decision for him and I trust him with that.”
Ozment said Fowler will consult with his family about the best decision about his future. The Choctaw head coach pointed to current major leaguer Drew Pomeranz, who played high school baseball in Collierville, was selected in the 12th round in 2007 but opted to go to college. Three years later, Pomeranz stock rose and he was the No. 5 pick in the 2010 draft.
“The SEC will prepare you for Major League Baseball, for sure,” Ozment said. “I think he’d have a lot of success there and get mentally stronger and more mature on the baseball field.
“Either way, I think he will be fine, being a kid that works extremely hard. I have a lot of confidence in Jordan – whether it be signing after the draft or going on to college. He prepares well as a player. He has an idea of the things he needs to do to get better and to stay on the top of the game. No matter what he does, he’s going to be in good shape.”