And then there was just one. Off to MLB is Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson while 22-year-old Henry Owens remains in Pawtucket to develop “consistency.” The “C” word is a euphemism for getting your pitches over the plate in a desirable (for the pitcher) location in just about any count. That is why Messieurs Johnson and Rodriguez have moved on. And, that is the ultimate goal for the left-handed Owens.
If you consistently pitch behind hitters at the MLB level you will get mauled. A rare few have the talent to survive when all is not functioning as expected and those are few and far between. For Owens the issue has been an issue – as in issuing a free pass. Walks at any level can lead to disaster, but at the MLB level you might as well light your grill using a stick of dynamite.
Hitters talk and hitters observe. They know what is working and what is not for a pitcher and an educated guess on a count can turn from a guess to a sure thing. Even a .200 hitter can magically become a .300 hitter knowing that at 3-1 I’m getting number one sent my way.
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Owens is not a hard thrower. Despite his size he tops out in the low 90s and relies on stealth and a devastating change. A change of MLB quality – if it gets over. Owens also possesses a competent curve and will occasionally experiment with a slider. When the total repertoire is operating efficiently – Owens is one tough pitcher.
I mentioned experiment and that is often an unmentioned sub-set in pitching philosophy of high-profile prospects in the minors. A Owens just may toss in a series of pitches designed for self-improvement – this may be by design from the coaching staff. You may see a pitch in certain counts that is in the developmental stage and in the experimental stage in certain situations. Winning is important at any level, but the primary goal is a finished product for the parent club. How much of this is part of the Red Sox philosophy – I have no idea, as they may not even use it.
The issue is control so has there been improvement? In April the BB/9 was 7.29, May it was 4.86, June down to 3.22 and in July another drop to 2.63. Owens H/9 for the season is 5.87, with the highest month being May with a 6.48. Owens WHIP for the season is 1.15 and for June it was 0.96 and July 0.95. The K/9 has reached a monthly high of 10.54 for July.
The numbers are showing that Owens is in the waiting room with his number about to be called.
Statistics via Sox Prospects
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