Four horsemen of the drafting apocalypse
I will start with the four horsemen of the drafting apocalypse. They have a common connection: they were all number-one draft choices, all were left-handed, and all failed. This was critical to the pitching development failures that followed with trades and expensive free agents to shore up the mess.
Henry Owens was drafted in 2011 and, in 2015, got his shot with 11 starts. In 2016, Owens started in the rotation, but it didn't pan out, and after just four retched starts, the tall lefty was gone. I saw Owens as a potentially tall Jamie Moyer - so much for that.
Owens didn't have heat (89.0), had a respectable curve, and could slow down his change (77.2). The issue became a lack of control that was as persistent as mosquitoes on a hot summer night. Even Indy ball was a nightmare, and Owens finally surrendered to poor control.
Brian Johnson was drafted in 2012 and naturally found the plate to be the size of a postage stamp. Johnson threw with less fastball violence (88.4) than Owens and had a curve and slider - the curve hung, and the slider had no bite.
Johnson was a head-scratching draft choice, with no spectacular numbers at the University of Florida (Gainsville) and nothing special when I saw him in the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL). That question was - I hoped - answered in a game against Seattle in 2017 that was a magical shutout for Johnson—just an illusion.
Jay Groome and Trey Ball never reached Boston, although Groome still hangs on in the Padres system. Neither were hard throwers and masters of control. Both were tall, so the assumption was the Red Sox would form an NBA team.
All four were at one juncture among the top prospects in the Boston system on prospect watch.