Pawtucket Red Sox preview as Owens shines in debut
Roenis Elias certainly had the opportunity in spring training and failed. The 27-year-old lefty was acquired from Seattle in the Wade Miley transaction. In 2015 Elias went 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA in 20 starts with the Mariners and will see action as both a starter and in the bullpen depending on the need and direction of the parent club.
Henry Owens went 4-4 in Boston in 2015 and – like Elias – was quite spotty in spring training and will start as the ace at Pawtucket. Owens 2015 progressed quite promising each month as his walls steadily decreased – an annoying walk habit that surfaced this spring. The 23-year-old lefty may be in Boston if things go sour in the rotation or be packaged in a trade.
With Brian Johnson, you could present a viable argument that he was the most proficient pitcher in the International League in 2015. Johnson went 9-6 with a 2.53 ERA and earned one start in Boston in which he took a loss. Then he had an arm issue. Johnson – like Owens – could be elsewhere or in Boston.
Robby Scott is a 26-year-old lefty consigned to various nonstarter roles. Scott finished out 2015 in Pawtucket (1-1, 7.67) with 13 games and one start. On the lefty depth chart he is in the lower ranks.
Edwin Escobar was a top ten prospect when he was traded to the Red Sox as part of the Jake Peavy package. The 23-year-old left-hander was being groomed as a reliever and appeared in two games for Boston in 2014. Escobar’s 2015 season was null thanks to injury as he appeared in 19 games with Pawtucket (six starts) and finished 3-3 with a 5.07 ERA.
Pat Light certainly can bring the heat with an occasional 100 MPH fastball, but is the current model for pitching inconsistency. The 25-year-old right-hander was a former number one pick who went 2-4 with the PawSox. Looking for the downside? A BB/9 of 7.1 and an era of 5.18.
Heath Hembree is somewhat in the same category as Light with plenty of mustard on old number one. The other part of the Peavey trade was also among the top ten prospects with the Giants. Hembree saw 22 games with Boston (2-0, 3.55) in 2015 and the now 26-year-old right-hander will concentrate on relief. Matt Barnes beat out Hembree this spring for a coveted spot on the 25-man roster.