Remember around this time two years ago? If you do, do you remember the state of the Boston Red Sox team around this time. If so, do you remember who their fifth starter was.
If not, then it was Henry Owens. And he had some people fooled. Had he gotten even luckier than he did and had a slightly better year, then he may have snagged a No. 5 starting job in the 2016 Red Sox rotation. Boy, that would’ve been a mistake, especially with how far he has fallen.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the Red Sox minor leagues, you might not know that Owens isn’t in Triple-A anymore. He’s in Double-A. Why? You might ask. He can’t throw strikes, as you know. But it’s only gotten worse.
Over six starts for the Portland Sea Dogs, Owens is 2-3 with a 5.11 ERA. In those outings, he has walked 28 batters in 24.2 innings. The Red Sox sent Owens to Double-A to try a new delivery they felt suited him better but clearly, it’s not working.
It’s not just the new delivery that has led to Owens’ command struggles. He had walked 60 men in 69 Triple-A innings before getting demoted. He flat out cannot throw strikes and when a pitcher only throws 88 miles per hour, that’s not a good combo.
Owens is still on the Red Sox 40-man roster and he still has an option year remaining after this season. At this point, it is unlikely that the Red Sox will call him up this season. They wouldn’t have put him in their rotation in 2015 if Brian Johnson was healthy. In fact, if Johnson was 100 percent in 2015 and 2016, Owens might not have played in the big leagues outside of September of 2015 which was a September to forget.
He does everything the Red Sox ask of him–and they’ve tried a lot of things–but it’s really tough for a guy as tall as Owens to control his body. He has a really good changeup. The command just makes it tough for him to excel in the bigs.