Two-way prospects aren't so rare
May, 6, 2008
Micah Owings was a draft prospect both as a pitcher and a hitter coming out of high school and again out of college. This isn't as unusual as you might think. A position player with a good arm will often pitch, at least in relief, especially at the high school level. Here are five current big leaguers who were legitimate draft prospects on both sides of the ball: James Loney, 1B/LHP, Elkins HS, Missouri City, Texas: Loney was seen, at best, as a second-rounder as a pitcher who had a solid-average fastball with some life and a curveball that had a chance to be plus. The Dodgers were thought to have made a dual mistake with this pick -- taking Loney too high (19th overall) and at the wrong position -- but he's more than justified the pick. Loney showed good raw power and excellent bat speed as an amateur, standing out from many high school first-base prospects because he could be (and now is) a plus fielder at the position; most high schoolers play first because they have limited defensive skills. Nick Markakis, OF/LHP, Young Harris JC: Markakis was almost universally seen as a pitching prospect more than a hitting prospect. Left-handed pitchers who work in the low 90s and are athletic tend not to last in the draft, but the Orioles shocked everyone by taking him as a hitter and doing so in the top 10 picks of the 2003 draft. Markakis' secondary stuff was the main question on him as a pitcher, with some teams viewing his breaking ball as a potential plus pitch but others seeing him as caught between a slider and curveball.