Boston Red Sox: Henry Owens

Owens promoted to Triple-A

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
11:35
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Anthony Ranaudo isn’t the only Red Sox prospect getting promoted on Friday.

Left-hander Henry Owens, the No. 3-rated prospect in the Sox system, according to SoxProspects.com, has been elevated to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The 22-year-old Owens has spent the season up until now in Double-A Portland, where he’s posted dominant numbers (14-4, 2.60 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 121 innings) that have shown the team he’s ready for the next level.

He will make his first start with Pawtucket as soon as Sunday.

Ranaudo will make his major league debut tonight against the Yankees at Fenway.

Alex Speier of WEEI.com was the first to report the news.

Law's midseason top 50 prospects

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
12:09
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Keith Law unveiled his midseason Top 50 prospects (Insider access required), with pitcher Henry Owens (No. 23) and catcher Blake Swihart (No. 27), both making this list.

Note that "players who have already passed the cutoff for Rookie of the Year eligibility are ineligible, as is anyone currently on a major league roster."

Here’s part of what Law writes about Owens:

Owens doesn't throw hard, mostly 90-92 but up to 94 whenever he needs it, succeeding with tremendous deception in his delivery and one of the minors' best changeups, which has made him more effective against right-handed hitters than lefties throughout his pro career.


To read the rest of Law's write-ups of Owens and Swihart, and to see full reports of all of the Top 50, click here.

Owens throws shutout inning in Futures

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
8:33
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Red Sox prospect Henry Owens pitched a shutout inning for the victorious U.S. team in the Futures Game Sunday at Minneapolis.

[+] EnlargeHenry Owens
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonHenry Owens gets ready to deliver in the Futures Game.
Owens, who is 12-3 with a 2.21 ERA for Double-A Portland, was the starter for the U.S. against the World team. After getting the first two batters, Owens gave up a two-out single but struck out Kennys Vargas swinging at a changeup to end the inning.

Sean Coyle, the other member of the Red Sox organization who participated in the game, started at second base and went 0-for-2 batting second in the order.

Coyle is batting .336 with 11 home runs for Portland.

LHP Owens excited for big league Sox camp

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
5:45
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BOSTON -- For Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens, spring training last year played an integral role in his 2013 success.

Less than two years removed from high school at the time and working out alongside college-proven pitchers such as Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, Owens felt he had a lot to learn, mainly with preparation.

[+] EnlargeOwens
Darren McCollester/Getty ImagesRed Sox prospects Henry Owens, Dalier Hinojosa and Anthony Ranaudo hung out with Joseph at Boston Children's Hospital on Wednesday.
"They were in college, they were on a lifting program," Owens said. "It was almost like I'd lift to look good, not lift to play good. Seeing them in them weight room, really focus on attacking their legs and getting their core stronger, stuff like that, I think it's all benefited me in some ways."

Owens went on to post career-high numbers across the board on his way to being named Red Sox minor league pitcher of the year. Now, four weeks away from this year's spring training, Owens will be making the trip to Fort Myers with the rest of the big league staff as a major league invite.

"It's very exciting, I personally can't wait to get around, see all the veterans, see how they work and see what I can gain from them," Owens said. "I'm excited to see how my pitching forte matches up against the big league guys."

Owens said he's looking forward to picking the brain of left-handed pitcher Jon Lester. Still just 21 years old, Owens said he feels there's a lot that he could learn from being around the major league pitching staff.

"I'm all ears, I'm ready for anything they have to give me or feed me," he said.

After spending the offseason working out back home in California with Cody Kukuk, a Red Sox left-handed pitching prospect in the lower minors, Owens said Friday that he now weighs between 210 to 215 pounds, nearly 30 more than when he signed. With the added bulk on his 6-foot-7 frame, Owens said keeping everything in sync is the key to his success.

"My mechanics haven't really changed at all," Owens said. "I've just been focusing on every offseason getting stronger and then through the season maintaining strength."

Owens made 26 starts between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland last year, going 11-6 while leading Boston's farm system with a 2.67 ERA and 169 strikeouts. His .177 opponent batting average led all full-season minor league qualifiers.

"I think he probably had to learn in his first year that his stuff is pretty good and that he can throw it in the strike zone and get guys out really effectively and I think that was something he made a nice adjustment with in his second full season," Sox director of player development Ben Crockett said. "He gained a lot of confidence coming out of that first year instruction league and then having a good spring training."

Now entering his third full season and projected to start the year at Double-A Portland, Owens is hoping to continue on the fast track toward the majors this year.

"I think if I go out and do my job on the mound, I just want to make it hard on them to make the decision," Owens said. "I can only control what I can control.

"My gears are ready to go. I want the season to start tomorrow."

Minor league award winners honored

September, 22, 2013
9/22/13
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BOSTON -- With the American League East wrapped up on Friday and baseball’s best record heading into the final week of the season, the sky is the limit for the 2013 Boston Red Sox season. Fittingly, Saturday marked the day that several of their top prospects were in the building as well.

Henry Owens, Blake Swihart, Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero were each honored with awards Saturday for their achievements during the minor league season, meeting with the media in front of the Red Sox dugout an hour before the start of the night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Latin Pitcher of the Year Dedgar Jimenez and Latin Player of the Year Victor Acosta were also on hand for the event. Steven Wright was awarded the Lou Gorman award, which is given annually to the minor leaguer who demonstrates perseverance in making it to the majors.

“It’s a great day,” director of player development Ben Crockett said. “It’s an honor for these guys to get a chance to be recognized for the seasons that they had. I think certainly there’s some pride that goes in from my end and from all of us in player development, all the staff, for these guys to get a chance to be recognized for their accomplishments.”

[+] EnlargeHenry Owens
AP Photo/Ken Babbitt/Four Seam ImagesPitcher of the Year Henry Owens amassed a 2.96 ERA and 169 K's in 135 innings for Salem and Portland.
Headlining the class of prospects was Owens, whose 2.96 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 135 innings between the Advanced-A Salem Red Sox and Double-A Portland Sea Dogs made him an obvious choice for the award.

“I thought I made strides from [my] first season,” Owens said. “[Got] my feet wet the first season then came into spring training expecting to succeed, I guess. Ended up going up to Portland and succeeding there, too. It’s good but there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”

A supplemental first-round pick in 2011, the 6-foot-7 Owens put himself on the map this summer with an impressive stretch of no-hit magic that spanned 19 1/3 consecutive innings with Salem.

“I really didn’t think about it at all. I went out, threw, then at the end of my outings I’d go, ‘Oh, I didn’t give up a hit again,’” Owens nonchalantly said of the streak.

On July 31, Owens was promoted to Portland, where he allowed only six earned runs and struck out 46 in 30 1/3 innings to finish his spectacular season.

Defensive Player of the Year and fellow 2011 first-rounder Swihart had high praise for the 21-year-old Owens.

“He’ll be [in Boston] next year I bet,” Swihart said. “That guy’s amazing, gets all guys out with any pitch. Every pitch is his strength, he doesn’t have a weakness.”

Swihart is easy to trust when it comes to knowing Owens. The 21-year-old catcher from Bedford, Texas spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as Owens’ battery mate, catching nearly every one of Owens’ starts until his promotion. On Saturday the two spent most of their time together, Owens even pretending to hold a recorder and joining reporters while Swihart spoke.

“Anytime he pitched, I was catching,” Swihart said proudly of their time together in Salem.

Committing only 10 errors in 841 chances (.988 fielding percentage) and leading the Carolina League in both putouts and assists, Swihart played a strong role in Salem’s postseason run that culminated in a league championship. Swihart also topped the league in caught stealing percentage (42 percent).

“When I can throw someone out it’s all thanks to the pitcher, they give me the ball on time,” Swihart said. “The pitcher helps me out.”

[+] EnlargeMookie Betts
AP Photo/Brian Westerholt/Four Seam ImagesOffensive Player of Year Mookie Betts hit .314 with a .417 OBP and 38 stolen bases for Greenville and Salem.
Meawhile, Betts was someone who wanted to help no pitcher out. A fifth-round pick in the same draft class as Owens and Swihart, Betts hit .314 in 127 games between Single-A Greenville and Salem. The 20-year-old second baseman also stole a system-high 38 bases, a feat helped by his impressive .417 on-base percentage.

“I take a lot of satisfaction in [this year] but you can never be completely satisfied until you make it to the bigs,” Betts said. “I was very surprised in myself. I learned that hard work in the offseason pays off and now with another offseason I’m ready to work hard and see what happens next year.”

The biggest surprise to Betts were his power numbers, hitting 15 home runs and 36 doubles on his way to the system’s highest slugging percentage (.506). Many tabbed Betts as one of the minor leagues biggest breakout players due to the improvements he made from his 2012 season (zero home runs in 71 games).

“Going through what I went through last year, I didn’t do that well and I knew as I was moving up it was only going to get harder,” Betts said. “Now that I’m here and I won [this award], I feel like I can hopefully keep doing it as I keep moving up.”

Betts was promoted from Greenville to Salem July 9, and his production didn't slow down at all. In fact, he posted better numbers, hitting .341 in 51 games compared to his .296 average in 76 games with Greenville.

“Swinging at good pitches is how you hit,” Betts said of his plate discipline. “It’s important to have good pitch selection, good pitch recognition, I feel like I do that pretty well. That’s how I have a little success.”

Marrero, named the system's top baserunner, had plenty of success swiping bags. The 2012 first-round shortstop was 27-for-29 in stolen base attempts between Salem and Portland this season, including a perfect 6-for-6 in 19 games with Portland.

“I learned a lot [this year]. Learned how to play a full season, how to play a lot of games and how to save my body and get my reps in,” Marrero said. “We have a great organization and they take care of me and they appreciate how hard I work and stuff like that. To get noticed for that is cool and I’m just happy to be in this organization and to play here.”

The 23-year-old Marrero earned his promotion to Portland Aug. 12.

“That’s what you want to do, you want to keep on moving up and get here and play in front of all these people and play for this city,” Marrero said.

Promotions have been somewhat of a theme for recent Red Sox minor league award winners as 2012 Pitcher of the Year Brandon Workman, Offensive Player of the Year Xander Bogaerts and Defensive Player of the Year Jackie Bradley Jr. all have made their major league debuts this season.

“They made significant strides handling promotion within the minor leagues very well and then obviously once they got in [Boston],” Crockett said. “The work ethic the players have put and the upper-level staff [preparing] these guys for that final step has been huge. Hopefully we can see that continue going forward.”

Although expectations run high for this year’s award winners, each was sure to enjoy the moment with their friends and family on Saturday, taking in the sweet feeling of standing on the field that they may soon call home. To get there, however, is easier said than done.

“I don’t really know where my ceiling is,” Owens said. “Just got to keep working hard, trying to get better every year.”

Once Owens and the other honorees make it to the big leagues is when those ceilings are sure to be discovered. Until then, the sky is the limit.

Law's Top 50: Bogaerts at No. 3

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
12:31
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ESPN.com’s Keith Law unveiled his midseason top 50 prospects (insider access) list today and the Red Sox are well represented with four players appearing.

Leading the way is SS Xander Bogaerts (No. 3). Other Red Sox on Law’s list: 3B Garin Cecchini (No. 21), OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (No. 24) and LP Henry Owens (No. 31).

Click HERE to read Law’s full analysis on each of the Sox prospects and the rest of his Top 50.

Bogaerts is also the subject of a feature by Jerry Crasnick, who wonders if the 20-year old can help the Sox this season. Writes Crasnick:

Beyond his talent on the field, Boston Red Sox shortstop prospect Xander Bogaerts rates aTorii Hunter-like grade on the 20-80 player congeniality scale. He displayed his people skills during the All-Star Futures Game, when he stood near the third-base dugout at Citi Field in New York and gave one media interview after another on a day so hot it could melt a Cliff Lee death stare.

Bogaerts, 20, answered questions about his position preference (open-minded), his linguistic skills (he speaks fluent English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento) and his feelings about spending last August and this spring with Boston's Double-A affiliate in Portland, Maine.

"Cold," Bogaerts said, laughing. "Last year was such beautiful weather, and I came into Portland this year and it was a hard time -- especially being from Aruba. It was a good learning experience. It's definitely challenging. Hopefully next year, wherever I am, I'm accustomed to the cold."

Apparently Bogaerts' swing is weather-resistant. He hit .311 with a .909 OPS for the Seadogs to earn a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he has seven home runs in his first 29 games. For Red Sox fans and die-hard prospect watchers wondering when he might break through and earn a promotion to the big club in Boston, here's a hint: He's getting warmer.

Click HERE to read the rest of Crasnick's piece.

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