Pirates Prospect Interview: Rudy Owens

Rudy Owens

Rudy Owens has won back-to-back awards for the organization's minor league pitcher of the year. Owens topped the Class AA Eastern League with a 2.46 ERA and ranked third with 132 strikeouts while going 12-6 in the regular season for Altoona and told PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko that he hopes to be in the mix for a spot on the big league roster this spring.

GVB -- You have to be pleased winning the pitcher of the year honor two years in a row?

RO -- It was a great time and I had a great year at Altoona. I guess the hard work paid off, it also paid off for the whole team – we won another championship and it can't get any better than that.

GVB -- You won a championship at Lynchburg last year and this year at Altoona. Is that a sign of progress in the Pirates minor league system?

RO -- I think a World Series is definitely better than a minor league title, but hopefully we can all contribute to the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates and I guess only time will tell.

GVB -- Comment on your season and the numbers you put up – were you pleased?

RO -- Numbers wise it was a consistent season, but mechanically I think I have some things to do and I've got some things I need to work on mechanically that will make my secondary pitches better. My curveball and my change up did really well this year, but it's just one of those things that just the slightest little imperfection in the mechanics makes all the difference. That's something I'm working on and will work on in the instructional league and it will be better next year.

GVB -- Is that going to be a difficult process or is it just a little tweaking?

RO -- It just a little tweak, I've got to work on my leg lift and stuff like that. Just little things, it's nothing big. I'm not changing my arm slot or anything like that. It's just a slight little tweak that I've got to make.

GVB -- Are you pleased with your pitch arsenal and the way you are throwing all your pitches?

RO -- For me it works, just being able to read the hitters and just read certain swings and what they do with the fastball – it's just one of those things that I've got to learn as I move up. It's not always going to work the same for every hitter; it's one of those things – what pitch you throw in a certain situation.

GVB -- Are you confident in your pitch repertoire?

RO -- I have a fastball, a change up and a slurve and then I'll throw my two seamer when I need a ground ball and that's pretty much what I have.

GVB -- You pitched against Stephen Strasburg in the minors and then defeated a rehabbing Andy Pettitte and the Yankees' Trenton club to win the championship. That had to be two very interesting starts?

RO -- It was – my first Double A start was against the next best thing Stephen Strasburg and just being able to get my first professional base hit was even better – it was an RBI single, so that was awesome and a great experience for me and it was one of those things to get two of the biggest starts in Altoona. It was a good year and those two starts just topped it off.

GVB -- Are you on track with your progression through the minor leagues and do you feel good about where you are?

RO -- I feel comfortable and I feel comfortable with my stuff and I feel comfortable with how my body is and I feel strong. I've still got to go out and do the work and put in my time and eventually it will pay off. I'm just going into spring training trying to make the big league squad. To go for anything less than that ... if I go to [Class AAA] because I don't have the experience, or I go there because I don't have the stuff for the big leagues, or just because I have to prove myself, then that's what I'm going to do. Being here in Pittsburgh is my ultimate goal.

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