The young right-hander pitched pretty well in 2023 and moved up to Double-A
After making our Top 30 prospects list all the way back in 2019, there were a few years where we didn’t see much out of Tyler Owens. His debut season was reasonable in a small sample. After that, though, the former high school draftee struggled mightily in A-ball for two straight years. But, things are now looking a bit rosier for the right-hander.
The Atlanta Braves selected Owens in the 13th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. At the time of his selection, there was a lot of hype surrounding Owens and the organization gave him the fifth-highest signing bonus they handed out that class.
Preseason report card
The trajectory of Owens’ career was not looking great entering this season. Despite being viewed as a steal for the Braves in 2019 due to a lively fastball and ability to miss bats, the 5’10” pitcher struggled to make an impact over the past couple seasons. In 2022, repeating A-ball, he was temporarily banished from the rotation and still couldn’t manage an FIP or xFIP below 4.50. On the plus side, though, Owens was able to stay healthy after he missed a little over three months in the 2021 season.
What we saw in 2023
2023 was finally something like a breakout year for Owens. He posted a 3.50 FIP and 3.83 xFIP in High-A, and then a 4.28 FIP and 4.68 xFIP in Double-A, with the latter coming in a swingman capacity. Despite moving up two levels across the season, Owens’ swing and miss stuff was still there as he struck out 67 batters across 65 ⅓ innings. Owens also returned to starting the majority of his games in High-A; if the Braves are still thinking of him as a starter, that raises his ceiling as a prospect.
I think it is safe to assume that Owens is going to start the year at the Double-A level. Whether or not they continue to use him as a starter or swingman is a bit up in the air, as he had just four starts in Double-A to go with 11 relief appearances. However, if Owens were to get off to a hot start, similar as to what he did this year in High-A, look for the Braves to promote him to Triple-A near the middle of the season.