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Turlock’s Andy Owen drafted by Texas Rangers
Andy Owen
2020 Turlock High graduate Andy Owen proudly wears his Texas Rangers ballcap after being selected by the organization in the MLB Draft on Tuesday (Photo contributed).

Turlock High School graduate Andy Owen has been selected in the 14th round of the 2022 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. Owen, a right-handed pitcher, was the 409th overall pick in this year’s draft and is expected to sign with the organization this weekend.

“It felt so surreal, I was pretty shaken,” Owen said. “My mind has calmed down for sure, but it was a pretty exciting moment for me.”

Owen explained that the sense of shock came for a variety of reasons, especially because his college playing experiences were very minimal.

As a freshman at Baylor University, Owen admitted that he had his fair share of struggles adjusting to the environment. After the 2021 season, he transferred to Grossmont College in El Cajon. Unfortunately, he would not throw a single pitch at his new school as he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. Nevertheless, Owen had still made a lasting impression during the prior offseason.

“I threw throughout the whole fall and I had a lot of scouts come out to watch,” he said. “I was just making connections with them, meeting with a few of the teams, so I knew there was interest. I'd say two months ago I started to realize I could definitely become a draft pick.”

Even though Owen was expecting a call from a major league organization, it came much sooner than expected, which led to him becoming one of the last people amongst his family and friends to learn of the news.

“With me still recovering from surgery, I didn’t think it was going to come so soon,” he explained. “What's funny is I was actually on my way home to work out with all my friends in the car. At first, I got a call from one of my friends whose playing in Massachusetts who was listening [to the draft] and right after that, the Rangers called me.”

Meanwhile back at home, several of his family members had been glued to the radio for hours, joining in celebration once they heard his name announced.

Several members of Owen’s family are no strangers to professional baseball, though. His cousin, Tyler Soderstrom, was another standout at Turlock High and was selected in the first round of the 2020 Draft by the Oakland Athletics. His uncle, Steve Soderstrom, is Tyler’s father and pitched for the San Francisco Giants in 1996. Owen strongly believes that the recent success between him and Tyler will inspire the youth of the Turlock community.

“I think it's great for Turlock because we are a smaller town in the Central Valley, and it's definitely cool for people to see that all these athletes are doing big things,” he said. “If the kids can see me and Tyler make it, they can too.”

Sean Gilbert is someone who shares similar sentiments. Gilbert coached Owen and Soderstrom during their time at Turlock High School. He was ecstatic at the news of Owen being taken by the Rangers and looks forward to watching his journey.

“I love Andy. He’s a hard worker and a great person,” Gilbert said. “He’s a ferocious competitor, a true ‘Bulldog’ and great teammate. I couldn’t be happier.”

Owen is expected to fly to Arizona on Sunday to meet with members of the Texas organization and sign his contract, officially kicking off his career in professional baseball. He will join a loaded Rangers minor league system consisting of top pitching prospects like Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker.

“I can’t wait to join the Rangers system,” Owen said. “They can expect a very coachable kid, somebody that's going to go out there and be the best version of himself and just give 100% on the field. I’ll do whatever I can to come back from this injury and help this organization.”