Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens will be called up to make his Major League debut on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, Sox manager John Farrell told reporters (including the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson). Owens gets the call to replace Rick Porcello, who was placed on the 15-day DL today with a right triceps strain. By coincidence, Owens will pitch a day before Yankees prospect Luis Severino makes his own much-anticipated debut.
Owens, 23, was chosen with the 36th overall pick of the 2011 draft and the lefty has since become not only Boston’s top pitching prospect, but one of the more well-regarded young arms in baseball. Owens rated highly on preseason top-100 prospect lists from MLB.com (19th), ESPN’s Keith Law (20th) and Baseball America (44th). The 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook described Owens as showing “an advanced feel for pitching that exceeds his age” in terms of reading and adapting to hitters’ swings. Owens can touch 94mph on his fastball through he usually works in the 89-92mph range, with an “excellent” changeup and a promising curve that needs some more development.
Despite this praise, however, Baseball America actually downgraded Owens on their midseason prospect list, slotting him at #47. The list, published on July 7, may have reflected Owens’ somewhat rocky start to his Triple-A season, though he has an overall 3.16 ERA in 122 1/3 innings. Owens only has a 7.6 K/9 rate, a notable drop from his K/9 over his first three pro seasons, and he has continued to have some control issues. He has a 4.1 BB/9 this season, in line with the 4.0 BB/9 he has posted over 518 career innings.