When referring to the Boston Red Sox and their pitching staff, the first thing that comes to mind is depth. If there is one thing that will carry the Red Sox in 2013, it is how deep their pitching is. From the Major League level all the way down to Single-A, the Red Sox are stacked with promising pitchers. The amount of solid pitching prospects the Sox have down on the farm is invigorating, as well as petrifying for all the other teams in the league. One prospect that is certainly projected to make strides is Henry Owens.
The 6-foot-7, left-handed pitcher has great length with an excellent delivery point that easily deceives hitters and allows Owens to use all his pitches effectively. His fastball isn’t going to dazzle anybody at 88-92 MPH, but it has adequate movement. However, the fastball is probably his weakest pitch used mostly to set up hitters. It is vital for Owens to improve his velocity because his command is below-average and the fastball could use more of a bite on it.
His curve ball is simply magnificent with an excellent, deep break. It’s the classic example of a 12-6 curve. Because of the 74-76 MPH on his curve, Owens is able fool hitters, often making them off-balance. He can also throw it at an extremely low velocity of 66-69 MPH.
Owens’ change-up is thrown to near perfection. With speeds in the low 80’s, he can easily deceive the batter. His delivery does not change between all his pitches, so, batters are often thinking the exact opposite of what Owens is about to throw.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a prodigious season between Single-A Salem and Double-A Portland. With Salem, Owens posted a 2.92 ERA and pitched 104 innings with 20 games started, in which he went 8-5. It was a great sign that Owens continued his dominance when moving up the next level. In Portland, he posted a 1.78 ERA in six games started, while going 3-1. Perhaps the most impressive stat is Owens’ Strikeouts per nine innings. With Salem, he had 10.58 K/9 and improved considerably to 13.65 K/9 with Portland. It is surprising how many strikeouts he racks up with just an average, if not below-average fastball.
It will be Owens’ very first Spring Training invite and he will be poised to show what he brings to the table. I hate when there is too much hype surrounding a prospect. I feel it only adds pressure and hinders their growth. However, being compared to Clayton Kershaw is telling of just how good Owens could be. Owens is expected to be with AAA Pawtucket this season, where he should be able to make considerable improvements. Don’t be surprised if he takes a step back or suffers through growing pains in his AAA stint.
Henry Owens has indubitable potential and is an amazing talent in the Red Sox farm system. It’ll be exciting to see how he performs in Spring Training. Don’t expect too much from the young left-hander for he still has plenty of growing up to do. If all progresses well, he should be in the Majors by 2015.