The Red Sox have placed former top prospect Henry Owens on outright waivers, removing him from the 40-man roster and clearing a space for a possible acquisition, reports Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Drellich notes that it is not immediately clear that a corresponding acquisition is on the cusp of completion.
Owens, 25, once ranked among the game’s top 50 overall prospects in the eyes of Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com, but his stock has fallen since last landing on one of those lists, prior to the 2015 campaign. The left-hander has seen time in a pair of big league seasons, tossing 85 innings for the BoSox from 2015-16 but struggling to the tune of a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9.
Early in his pro career, Owens posted enormous strikeout rates, but that trait has diminished as he’s reached the upper minors and the Major Leagues. Moreover, his longstanding issue with walks has become increasingly magnified against more advanced hitters. That’s never been truer than it was in 2017, as Owens split the year between Double-A Portand and Triple-A Pawtucket and walked a staggering 115 batters in 126 innings (8.2 BB/9). Owens also hit 17 batters and uncorked 17 wild pitches in those 126 innings — further exemplifying his struggles to locate the ball.
Owens does have a minor league option remaining, so any club that claims him would have the opportunity to stash him in Triple-A rather than being forced to carry him on the roster out of Spring Training. Outright waiver priority is not league-specific, so he’ll be available to all rival clubs in the reverse order of the 2017 regular season standings.