Henry Owens’ Triple-A career could not have gotten off to a better start.
Boston’s top pitching prospect made his Pawtucket Red Sox debut Monday night and was simply dominant. The big left-hander worked into the seventh inning and showed why some believe he could be the heir apparent to recently traded Jon Lester.
Owens started fast right out of the gate, striking out the side in the first inning against the Columbus Clippers. The former first-round draft pick showed an impressive ability to throw his curveball for strikes, as he picked up two of those early K’s on sharp, back-door breaking balls against right-handed hitters.
The ability to mix that curveball with a solid fastball (hitting 94 mph on the radar gun) and efficient changeup helped make Owens nearly unhittable, as he struck out nine and allowed just two hits in 6 2/3 innings.
“He definitely has the pitch mix. A fastball command with some late life,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles said, according to ESPN.com. “There’s some deception there. It looks like it’s a sneaky fastball. The breaking ball was quality. The hand speed on the changeup was above average and there’s a lot to be excited about. It was pretty impressive.
“He was unpredictable the whole time. They never really fell into a groove and that’s a credit to him and (catcher Blake) Swihart behind the plate. The energy, tempo and pace to the game was a plus and he kept our defense involved. Owens definitely showed weapons tonight.”
Here’s a look at some Owens’ best work from his PawSox debut.
Photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images