The Boston Red Sox have needed a lot of help on the mound this season, but Henry Owens has been passed over as a call-up in most of those moments.
The lanky left-hander was one of Boston’s top-ranked prospects going into the 2015 season — he even hit No. 44 on the top 100 in Major League Baseball — but after mixed results in major-league and Triple-A play from then until now, some are wondering if Owens ever will reach his full potential. However, Owens occasionally does something to prove his worth, like flirting with a no-hitter against the Charlotte Knights on Saturday.
Owens kept the Chicago White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate out of the hit column through 7 2/3 innings Saturday before Chris Marrero couldn’t wrangle a throw to first base from second baseman Mike Miller, which led to a two-out single. Owens exited the game after loading the bases with a walk immediately after — he already had a runner on from a hit by pitch — and his hard work was spoiled somewhat after reliever Chandler Shepherd gave up a double that plated three runs, all of which were charged to Owens.
But Owens’ outing still shows there’s something there for him to be a viable big-league starter.
At this point, the southpaw, who turns 24 on Thursday, projects as a back-end starter rather than an ace. Owens relies on a low-90s fastball that lacks command and a changeup that’s actually pretty nasty, but he’ll need to solidify a third pitch — in this case his curveball or slider — before he really can be effective in the majors. And he seriously needs to cut down on walks — he already has 60 (plus 10 hit batsmen) in 16 starts.
Things like Owens’ near no-hitter and the fact that he started the minor league season with a 0.72 ERA in four starts, however, show that he’s a Major League Baseball-caliber talent apart from the things he needs to work on. And with the Red Sox lacking starting pitching depth, that could become very important when September rolls around.
Thumbnail photo via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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