Haren faced Owings once. In team meetings, he would typically bypass the opposing pitcher. Maybe a coach would note his bunting ability, or say the pitcher could hit a little so keep it low and outside. Owings was different. “With him, it was a full-on scouting report,” Haren said. “We treated him like a hitter.”
In 2007 and 2008 combined, Owings received 126 plate appearances and hit .319/.355/.552 with a 126 OPS+, a statistic that measures a hitter’s performance relative to league standards and adjusts for ballpark effects. The two active players who have a career OPS+ of precisely 126 are Chase Utley and Adam Dunn.
“I think he had more power than anybody on our team, anybody in the starting lineup,” said the Nationals’ Chad Tracy, who played with Owings in Arizona. “He was a little raw, but when he caught one, he hit it a long way. And he could go the other way a long way, too. There was times when if we needed a big homer or something, we’d throw him in there just in case he touched one. If he touched it in the air, it was gone.”