Gabe Howell didn’t hit the Panama City Beach after graduation. Instead, he has been hitting baseballs in front of several Major League Baseball teams. Howell has been on the road since May 21st doing pre-draft workouts for teams including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, LA Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, and the Atlanta Braves. Howell traveled to DC to meet with the Washington Nationals and will finish up this week at Tampa Bay just in time for the MLB draft to start on Thursday.
Howell has been projected to be a top-10-round draft pick in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft. Howell finished his senior year at Trion High School hitting a .620 with 36 RBIs, 14 doubles, five triples, 46 runs scored, 10 homers and an on-base percentage of .745. Howell has impressed the scouts not only with his staggering stats and powerful swing, but also with his speed; recording a 6.5 in the 60 yard dash.
Gabe Howell’s goal as a young boy was to play major league baseball and he has spent years working to achieve that goal. Howell has put in years of hard work and his parents, Smokey and Lori, have been there every step of the way making sure Gabe always had the best coaches and, as the years progressed, that Gabe played in front of the right people. The Howells give much credit to the “village” that has helped Gabe along his journey. From local coach, Charlie Jarrett, to hitting guru Charles Culberson, and Eric Robinson of the Doubleday Baseball Academy who Howell has trained with since 8th grade , and eventually Trion Head Coach, Jason Lanham.
Lori Howell recalls Gabe’s first travel ball team, the Bandits. “We had players from all over. We went to Chattanooga, Dalton and all over to play. We would lose pretty bad, all the time. After several years we finally got better and placed third in the World Series.” The team was coached by Charlie Jarrett, “he never gave up on these guys and coached every game like it was the world series.”
Gabe kicked it into overdrive for his senior year, beginning a workout routine which added 20 pounds of muscle, making him faster and stronger. Howell averaged 8.9 yards per rush and 25.3 yards per catch during his senior football season. “Gabe is an excellent example of a person that is blessed with ability and then puts in the work to make it extraordinary ability,” commented Trion’s head football coach, Justin Brown.
The 2016 MLB Draft consists of 40 Rounds and players are eligible right out of high school. Many players will have the choice of moving on to play college baseball or to sign a contract with the team who drafts them. Howell has already been offered a scholarship with Chipola College and, with the interest from around the league, will likely be facing that choice himself. Draft coverage begins on the MLB Network at 7 pm on Thursday, June 9th. The first two rounds of the draft will be conducted on Thursday evening, with the remaining rounds held on Friday and Saturday.
For the town of Trion, Georgia and the Howell home, every name announced and every phone call made will bring Gabe one step closer to a dream come true.