James Phillip Howell (born April 25, 1983 in Modesto, California) is a Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. J.P. attended Saint Mary's School in Sacramento, California. He is an alumnus of Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California where he had a 0.09 ERA his senior year and the University of Texas at Austin, where he led the Longhorns to an appearance in the 2004 College World Series championship series. Howell had the best ERA in the CWS that year at 0.77.
Howell is a soft tosser. He throws his sinker in the mid 80's, topping out at 90 MPH. He also throws a knuckle-curve that has been described by scouts as "heavy" because of its extremely sharp downward break. He throws a change-up that breaks away from right-handed hitters. Howell's arsenal also includes a cutter. Howell has solid command of all four pitches.
Howell made his Major League Baseball debut with the Kansas City Royals on June 11, 2005. On June 20, 2006 Howell was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for infielder Fernando Cortez and outfielder Joey Gathright,and made his Devil Rays debut on August 1, 2006.