Happy birthday to former Texas Ranger pitcher Ben Rowen, who turns 27 today.
Rowen is a righthanded submariner who the Rangers selected in the 22nd round of the 2010 draft out of Virginia Tech. Despite a fastball that barely cracks 80 mph, Rowen climbed up the minor league ranks, succeeding via deception and getting a ton of ground balls, and made it to the major leagues in 2014.
The Rangers waived him in December, 2014, and while he normally would have been eligible to be outrighted, due to technical issues relating to when he was added to the 40 man roster (or something -- I'm still not clear on what was involved), Rowen was eligible to elect free agency rather than taking an outright assignment. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the start of the 2015 season. Baltimore released him, he was signed by the Cubs, the Cubs waived him in August, and he was claimed by the Blue Jays, where he still sits on their 40 man roster.
Soft tossing righthanders don't often get chances in the majors, but Rowen has defied the odds just getting this far. He's a neat story, and someone I'll continue to root for as he works to make it back to the big leagues.