The most likely candidate to take Wright’s spot is Henry Owens. Not only does he have the most experience pitching in the majors among these options, he’s also having a fantastic season in Triple-A.
Owens has been Pawtucket’s best starter this season, going 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA. He’s struck out 25 batters in 21 2/3 innings, but has also walked 12 – showcasing the control issues that have always plagued Owens.
Once a highly touted prospect, Owens has yet to live up to his potential. He made five starts for the Red Sox last season and was abused to the tune of an 0-2 record and 6.95 ERA.
Owens is a talented pitcher that still has some upside, but a fastball that tops out in the low-90’s and averages in the upper-80’s isn’t going to overpower major league hitters. He needs a craftier approach to getting out hitters, which leads to him nibbling on the corners. This gets him into trouble when he isn’t throwing with pin-point accuracy, which is the reason behind his troubling walk rates.
Can Owens learn to harness his talent to reach his potential or are his control issues going to hold him back from being anything more than a AAAA-pitcher? Good enough to warrant a call-up to the big leagues but not quite good enough to stick. That remains to be seen, although we can expect him to get another shot at some point.
Given the few available starting pitchers on the 40-man roster and the success he’s had in the minors this season, Owens is the best option to fill in for Wright.