J.P. Howell, Relief Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays
Date of Birth: 4/25/1983
Birthplace: Modesto, California
College: USC, University of Texas at Austin
J.P. Howell, relief pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, was first drafted in 2001 by the Atlanta Braves but he opted instead to attend the University of Southern California. Three years later, he was drafted by and signed with the Kansas City Royals. He pitched in the Royals' minor league system in 2004.
Howell, who started his major league career as a starting pitcher, played in 15 games with the Royals in 2005. His first season was not impressive, with a 6.19 ERA, 3 wins and 5 losses, and 54 strikeouts to 39 walks in 72.2 innings. He also pitched in 18 games as a starter in the minors.
The Royals traded Howell to the Tampa Bay Rays on June 20, 2006. He pitched in 8 games as a starting pitcher with the Rays in 2007 and he finished with a 5.10 ERA. He spent the rest of the season in the minors. In 2007, his last season as a starting pitcher, he pitched in 10 games and he had a 7.59 ERA. He also pitched in 21 games as a starting pitcher in the minors.
In 2008, his first season as a relief pitcher, Howell had a 2.22 ERA and career highs in innings pitched (89.1) and strikeouts (92 to 39 walks). The following season, he had career highs in games played (69), wins (7 to 5 losses), and saves (17). He had a 2.84 ERA in 66.2 innings.
Howell spent the entire 2010 season on the DL with a shoulder injury that required surgery. The following year, he spent time on the DL, recovering from the surgery. He finished the 2011 season with a 6.16 ERA in 30.2 innings in 46 games. In 2012, his final season with the Rays, he had a 3.04 ERA in 55 games.
Howell became a free agent on October 29, 2012. On January 7, 2013, he signed a one-year, $2.85 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He finished the 2013 season with a 2.03 ERA, 4 wins and 1 loss, and 54 strikeouts to 23 walks in 62.0 innings in 67 games.
After becoming a free agent again on October 31, 2013, Howell re-signed with the Dodgers. His new contract was for $11.25 million over two years. In 2014, he finished with a 2.39 ERA in 68 games, and in 2015, he had a career low ERA of 1.43 in 65 games.
Howell continued to pitch for the Dodgers in 2016, finishing the regular season with 1 win and 1 loss, 44 strikeouts to 15 walks, and a 4.09 ERA in 50.2 innings in 64 games. He didn't pitch in the postseason.
Howell became a free agent on November 3, 2016. He signed with the Blue Jays on February 9, 2017.
Career pitching statistics for Howell through 2016 include:
- 531 games played
- 608.2 innings pitched
- 35-29 win-loss record
- 22 saves
- 560 strikeouts to 263 walks
- 3.77 ERA