Henry Owens threw 19-1/3 consecutive no-hit innings for High-A Salem over his last few starts, and that likely signaled he was just about done learning what he had to learn from Carolina League hitters. The Red Sox agree, and have reportedly promoted the lanky lefty to Double-A Portland, according to WEEI's Alex Speier.
Owens owns a 2.92 ERA this year, with 10.6 strikeouts per nine. While he's walked 4.6 batters per nine, the strikeouts have kept this from being a problem, and his command is much better this season than it was last year, when he weighed less and featured lower velocity. His mechanics have been a bit more consistent in 2013, however, after putting on some additional weight, and if he can add a bit more muscle in the future, that might turn into a trend.
Let's not criticize him too much for those free passes, either: Owens just turned 21 earlier this month, and has all of 206 professional innings to his credit. He's made significant progress -- and against much older competition -- in the course of two minor-league seasons. It might take him some time to adjust to Double-A, especially since he's more about feel and angles than he is pure, overpowering stuff, but when it happens, we'll be well aware.
Keith Law recently ranked Owens the #31 prospect in baseball in his mid-season top-50. Law projects him to be a #3 starter, but with promise to be better than that if the strikes start to come more consistently.
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