Texas Rangers draft Ole Miss signee Jordan Fowler in 26th round

Published 6:19 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Another Ole Miss signee was drafted Wednesday, though it was much later than expected.

Left-hander Jordan Fowler was taken in the 26th round by the Texas Rangers on the draft’s final day. The Dyer County (Tennessee) standout was the third high school pitcher that’s signed with Ole Miss to be drafted, joining second-round picks Steven Jennings and Caden Lemons.

Whereas Jennings and Lemons will almost certainly be bought out of the college experience — the two are slotted to make more than $3.1 million in signing bonuses, according to Baseball America — Fowler’s slide indicates he’s likely headed to Ole Miss.

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A southpaw that can reach the lows 90s with his fastball, Fowler, whom Baseball America ranked as the draft’s 209th-best prospect, was projected to go in the early rounds but wasn’t taken until the Rangers made him the 794th overall pick. Teams that know beforehand they won’t be able to meet the signing bonus demands of certain players will pass in the early rounds to avoid wasting a high draft pick.

A year ago, local product Grae Kessinger, a consensus top-500 prospect coming out of Oxford High, fell to the San Diego Padres in the 26th round before starting 53 games at shortstop for Ole Miss this season.

MLB.com reporter and draft analyst Jim Callis said leading up to the draft that Fowler could’ve gone as high as the fourth round based on signability. Fowler returned from an ACL injury during his junior year to pitch this spring.

Callis said Fowler’s development would benefit from playing at least three years at Ole Miss.

“He’ll show you 87-91 (miles per hour),” said Callis, who scouts the Southeast for the draft. “He’s got some shape to his breaking ball. The arm works well. It’s a pretty good changeup. He just needs some more strength and power to it. I think they’re probably going to keep him, and he might be a guy in three years we’re talking about as a decent draft pick.”

Fowler was the only Ole Miss signee taken on the draft’s final day.