Red Sox Invite Henry Owens To Spring Training


Among the eight players invited by the Boston Red Sox to spring training, Henry Owens seems the most likely to have playing time with the big club in the 2015 regular season.

Jason Mastrodonato reported, yesterday, that Owens would be “joining lefty Brian Johnson, shortstop Deven Marrero, infielder Jemile Weeks, catcher Matt Spring and right-handers Noe Ramirez, Keith Couch and Dallier Hinojosa” to Fort Myers, Florida this spring ( While some of these names will get valuable experience in being brought up for a look at how the major league club conducts their business on the field, and inevitably sent back down, Owens has a real shot at making Boston’s roster, later in the season. “Owens and Johnson will likely begin the year out of the rotation with Triple-A Pawtucket, though could be summoned later in the season, perhaps even as options out of the bullpen like the Red Sox have done with Brandon Workman and Drake Britton in the past” (Mastrodonato,

However, Owens’ talents may be brought to Boston earlier than some expect. He is touted as the second-best prospect in the Red Sox farm system, only behind catcher Blake Swihart, and has some pretty amazing numbers in the minor leagues. In Double-A Portland, last season, Owens was 14-4 as a starter, with a 2.60 ERA and 126 strikeouts to only 47 walks. Opposing teams could only hit .201 against the Red Sox’ version of the Huntington Beach ‘Bad Boy’. Nasty pitches, but a nice personality. In six starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, lineups did not fair much better against the 6’6″, lean-but-mean lefty, as they only hit .227 against the 22-year-old.

With the Red Sox rotation being in flux, having many veterans brought in to establish a starting rotation based on their previous successes, Owens may be needed early. If one of the new acquisitions does not work out as planned, or gets injured, Owens could see some action in the fifth spot of the rotation. This opportunity has not been confirmed by anyone in the Red Sox organization, but it is hard to see them not choosing that option. Nobody in the bullpen, at the moment, could fill the role, realistically, and the five-spot helps shelter a young pitcher from any immediate shell shock. All general manager John Farrell has to do is use the bullpen, if Owens started to get hit early. Nobody wants to do that, but do the Red Sox have a choice?

Owens continued to show why he was worthy of those opinions. He had a 10.42 ratio of strikeouts per nine innings, compared to a 2.84 walk ratio, with Pawtucket. His delivery is loose, working a fastball around 88-92 mph, and “hides [the] fastball well in motion causing it to jump on opposing hitters” ( Owens’ only major concern is when his command is not consistent, allowing his fastball and changeup to hang up in the zone. Many pitchers go through that type of fine-tuning, and who better to give advice on that than a former pitching coach to Jon Lester, like John Farrell?

Depending on how the spring goes, Owens could be finding himself in Boston, but will have to prove his consistency. The power is decent, but time in the minors may help him experiment with using his dominating frame to project down, keeping the ball lower. Then again, who knows what spring training will bring?

** Pitching statistics in game situations taken from