Red Sox release left-hander Henry Owens

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 05: Starting pitcher Henry Owens
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 05: Starting pitcher Henry Owens /

The Boston Red Sox have finally closed the book on lefty Henry Owens by releasing the former number one draft selection. The Red Sox now have a roster spot available as Winter Meetings approach.

The Red Sox have released left-hander Henry Owens in a roster move that is absolutely no surprise. The enigmatic Owens was once a top prospect for the team and in Major League Baseball. A former first-round selection (2011) who appeared to be an eventual staple in the Red Sox rotation. What happened?

Owens simply lost control and that means a conga line of walks all interspaced with wild pitches, hit batters and consistently pitching behind in the count. An eerie similarity to once closer of the future Daniel Bard. Last season Owens was demoted from Pawtucket to Portland to find the plate, but the size of the dish is consistent at all levels. Owens just sunk deeper.

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In 2015 Owens made his first shot at the big time and finished 4-4 with a 4.57 ERA. In 2016, that promise evaporated like a pool of water in the mid-day Sahara. Owens made just five starts and in 22 innings issued 20 walks and that translates to an abysmal 1.96 WHIP, but it is tough to toss in the resin bag on a number one pick and a lefty. Owens maintained his roster presence.

Owens had a bookend to his 2017 season with the first part being spring training where the lanky lefty tossed 7.1 innings and issued 12 walks. Owens finished the spring at 0-3 with a 15.95 ERA and a 3.82 WHIP. Could it get worse? That was answered with a two-team disaster where Owens walked 115 in 126 innings pitched. Owens did manage a 6.9 H/9 – for his minor league career, Owens has a 6.8 H/9. The final bookend was in Arizona.

The Red Sox finally pulled the pitching plug when Owens went to the Arizona Fall League in what would be a last chance with the organization. The famous line about insanity rings true as Owens tossed 21.1 innings with 13 walks and 24 hits. Obviously, the Red Sox were not impressed.

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Owens out the door leaves a roster spot open and the 25-year-old Owens unemployed, but, hey – he is a lefty, young and a former number one so expect Owens to latch on somewhere. From an observational standpoint, the failure of Owens had critical ramifications on the Red Sox. Would a performing as expected Owens made Drew Pomeranz deal unnecessary? Owens had that level of potential.