Jeremy Sowers doesn’t turn 33 until later this month. He’s young enough that he could still be pitching. Having succumbed to shoulder woes and ineffectiveness, he’s instead embarking on a new career with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Drafted sixth overall in 2004 out of Vanderbilt, Sowers never did fulfill expectations on the mound. In four seasons with the Cleveland Indians, the left-hander logged a 5.18 ERA while winning just 18 of 48 decisions. Known more for moxie than velocity, he fanned 10% of the batters he faced across 400 innings of work.
Unable to sufficiently school hitters, Sowers stepped away from the game and returned to the classroom, earning an MBA from the University of North Carolina. Now he’s back in baseball. After a summer spent interning with the Orioles, Sowers is currently a major-league operations assistant with the Rays, a position he sees as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Sowers talked about his path from first-round pick to entry-level baseball ops on a recent visit to Fenway Park.
Sowers on working for the Rays: “Just because I played does not qualify me as an absolute source of information about this game. I think I offer a unique perspective, but my value is only increased by hearing out and understanding everybody else’s perspective. To use a really crappy movie analogy, in Sling Blade, everybody is trying to figure out how to make a lawnmower work. All of a sudden, the one character is like, ‘I reckon there’s no gas in it.’