A little over two years ago, we did a feature on Rice's Joe Savery, a linchpin of the school's elie baseball team, a guy who combined excellent power pitching with a terrific batting average.
Savery is a complete local product, having played in Bellaire, at Lamar High and for Rice. The Owls didn't quite get to the championship in 2007, his final year, but Savery became the 19th player chosen overall in Major League Baseball's ensuing draft.
He expected big things from himself, announcing in a press conference that he looked forward to being in the bigs by 2008 and a full-time starter by 2009.
It didn't work out that way. Savery hurt his shoulder (prompting the usual talk about Rice coach Wayne Graham overusing his pitchers), he gained weight, he did poorly in Class-A ball.
Now, it appears he might be turning it around.
The Philadelphia Inquirer had a nice feature on him yesterday, and the writer says things are looking up as he pitches for the Double-A Reading Phillies:
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Slimmer, smarter and more comfortable, Savery yesterday improved to 8-1, tied for the most wins in Double A. His earned run average is 3.47. His fastball is buzzing in from 87 to 91 mph, his slider is finding some bite, his changeup is an occasional weapon and his two-seam fastball, four starts into its insertion into his repertoire, is . . . a work in progress.
Being a dominating big-league starter might no longer be in the cards; Phillies coaches talk of Savery as a bullpen or end-of-rotation pitcher in the majors.
From the sounds of the article, that could happen by next year.
Then again, the writer describes Bellaire as being "six miles from Rice," so you should probably take it all with a grain of salt.