For the second straight year, a member of the Reno Aces has captured the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player Award. And for the second straight year, that player will be spending September with the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, while Adam Eaton was being groomed to take over in center field last season, it is unclear what the role of Chris Owings will be this season. The D-Backs appear to be set at the middle infield spots and so far, the 22-year-old has been limited to a couple of pinch-hitting at-bats in two games.
Chris Owings deserves more playing time in September. Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Manager Kirk Gibson has stated that Owings, a shortstop, will get some playing time as the season winds down. By that, I hope Gibby means that he will be used more than just in a late inning role. Didi Gregorius appears to be entrenched at short but perhaps will be given an extra day off as his rookie season comes to a close. Owings has played some second base in the minors so it is possible a start will be coming at that position as well. We all know Gibson loves moving his guys around and using different lineups so it is possible that with 23 games remaining, Owings could make anywhere between 12 and 15 starts.
Frankly, I believe this is a case of Owings auditioning for another team. It would be hard for me to believe that he will be competing for the shortstop position one year after GM Kevin Towers acquired Gregorius for prized pitching prospect Trevor Bauer. Aaron Hill is signed through 2016. Then again, maybe the organization believes they could juggle middle infielders like they juggle outfielders.