Henry Owens: Stat Line With Silver Linings

Henry Owens‘ final start of 2012 was a scoreless one. In five innings, the 20-year-old struck out four, allowed eight base runners and a number of hard-hit balls. Minus a run or two, it was a typical start for the left-hander.

This off-season, the chatter on Owens has been less polarizing than expected. Yes, a 3.49 FIP and 11.51 K/9 is impressive. However, his 4.16 BB/9, .350 BABIP and low ground-ball percentage are all troublesome. Owens presented similar to his stat line during a September scouting trip to Greenville, South Carolina.

Video after the jump

Before working through the profile, it’s important to note my look occurred as Owens crossed his innings limit. He looked tired after the rigors of a long minor league season, but one learns more from a pitcher fighting with diminished stuff than when things are clicking on all cylinders.

Owens is a towering presence on the mound. Listed at 6-foot-7, his lanky frame allows for significant projection fueled by dreams of added size and strength.

Athletic for his age and size, the awkwardness associated with most young people his height was noticeable. This allowed Owens to repeat his delivery and arm slot reasonably well, but explains present command issues.

Owens’ fastball sat at 90-92 mph, touching 94 once or twice. The pitch was flat for a left-hander, which speaks to his working max effort to offset lesser stuff. His arm slot negated what should have been excellent downward plane given his height.

When left up in the zone, his fastball was hit hard. Owens being able to maintain consistent velocity throughout makes it easy to envision him sitting 93-95 mph once he fully develops physically, but he’s not there yet. Owens mixed in an 86-88 mph two-seam fastball with a touch of sink as well.

At 66-69 mph, Owens uses a curveball as his primary off-speed pitch. At the Single-A level, the big, slow breaker is effective and responsible for lofty strikeout totals. However, I’m not sure how well the pitch projects. By far, it’s the greatest velocity separation between a fastball and curveball I’ve ever scouted.

For me, a quality curveball features late, sharp break and Owens has it — surprising with his lack of velocity. Additional refinement may include the Red Sox working with him to add a few miles to the offering.

Owens’ third pitch was an acceptable changeup in the 76-80 mph range. His velocity separation from the fastball was significant, but Owens’ delivery slowed when throwing the pitch. However, his arm action was on point and present feel was apparent.

Owens threw the pitch liberally considering his reputation of being a major project when selected in the 2011 draft. If Owens is able to add movement and guide the changeup less, it will profile as at least an average offering.

Henry Owens is the most impressive high school selection to pitch for the Greenville Drive since Casey Kelly in 2009. One can’t help but be enamored with his projection if things break right.

After scouting Owens, envisioning a scenario where the he gains forty pounds, along with increased athleticism at full physical maturity is possible. However, expecting him to add size, velocity, movement and command is asking quite a bit.

If he improves in two areas, Owens moves from borderline top-100 prospect to top-50 status. If marked gains are made in all four, then Owens becomes one of the better left-handed pitching prospects in baseball.




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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.


12 Responses to “Henry Owens: Stat Line With Silver Linings”

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  1. Dave Duncan says:

    Mike, I’m confused with this comment:

    “Owens threw the pitch liberally considering his reputation of being a major project when selected in the 2011 draft.”

    Are you saying that Owens was a major project coming out of HS or the actual pitch (change)?

    Owens was far from a project coming out of HS. And to be pitching a full season at low-A the first full year after being drafted speaks to the same assessment of the Red Sox management.

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    • Mike Newman says:

      From my friends at SoxProspects.com

      RE: Owens

      “Below-average fastball command. Needs to fine tune command and pitchability in early pro career.”

      “Highly projectable. Presently a thrower.”

      I am saying he was and is still a project.

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  2. Mr Punch says:

    How many pitchers are there with pitches in the 90’s, 80’s, 70’s and 60’s?

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  3. E-Dub says:

    Owens was slowing his motion noticeably when throwing the change in HS, so it’s a little disppointing he hasn’t cleaned that up. And I can’t believe his curve is still that slow. I expected more improvement in those areas than your report indicates has occurred, Mike. Oh, and everyone dreams on the physical projection, but there’s always been a school that believes that he’s close to maxed out on velo, despite typical projection for players with his build.

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    • Mike Newman says:

      E-Dub,

      The only info I read on Owens prior to seeing him was a few basics when deciding whether or not to draft him in a dynasty league. I was not well-versed on his stuff prior to watching him pitch.

      I could not tell you whether the start I saw was par for the course or not.

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  4. Hurtlockertwo says:

    His front foot lands toward first base so he throws against his body motion to the plate. Could just be the angle, but he appears to “bleed off” his power toward the plate.

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