The prospect writers at MLB.com continued to unveil their Top 10 prospect lists by position, naming a pair of Boston Red Sox prospects among the top left-handed pitchers in the game. Henry Owens came in second on the list, behind only Chris Heaney of the Miami Marlins. Trey Ball was ninth.
Owens’ appearance on the list hardly comes as a surprise. Owens started to attract some significant attention this past season and was expected to climb up this offseason’s prospect rankings after first appearing on the major lists before 2013 (Baseball America ranked him 91st and MLB.com had him 94th in their annual overall Top 100). Making 26 starts between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland the 21 year old posted a 2.47 ERA, 1.126 WHIP, and an impressive 11.3 K/9 across 135.0 IP. His strikeout numbers were even more impressive in six starts at Double-A following a late season promotion, boasting a 13.6 K/9.
From Teddy Cahill at MLB.com:
Building on his impressive debut in 2012, Owens broke out in ‘13 and reached Double-A Portland shortly after his 21st birthday. He has a deceptive delivery, helping his low-90s fastball, changeup, and curveball play up. Owens’ command has been shaky as a professional, but if he can refine it he has the potential to be a middle of the rotation starter for Boston.
His time in Portland was limited last year, so it’s reasonable to expect him to at least begin the 2014 season there – particularly given the starters that they’ll likely already have in Pawtucket.
Ball, meanwhile, was the team’s 1st Round pick (#7 overall) in last June’s draft and is still very new to the Boston organization. He’d make a brief professional debut late last summer, throwing just seven innings for the team’s Rookie League affiliate, before having his season come to a close. Ball is still just 19 and was drafted right out of high school, so he’s still got plenty of development time ahead.
Again, from Cahill:
An elite two-way player during high school, Ball was the seventh overall pick of the 2013 Draft. While his athleticism gave him potential as an outfielder, Boston determined he was best suited for the mound. There, Ball combines a low-90s fastball with a good curveball and changeup, as well as projectability, as he matures and gains experience.