MLB.com is currently in the midst of a position-by-position series to rank the top prospects in baseball. To this point, they have completed the lists for right-handed pitchers, left-handed pitchers, and catchers. While the Red Sox struck out on the first of those -- condolences to Matt Barnes and Allen Webster -- they managed to earn kudos for one southpaw and one backstop in the system.
Henry Owens, who at present is attempting to become Over the Monster's community eighth-ranked prospect, is the lefty in question, coming in at ninth among left-handed pitching prospects. Owens made his professional debut in 2012, where the 19-year-old struck out 11.5 batters per nine and posted a 4.21 ERA following his disastrous first month in the pros. There is plenty left to work on in his game, but between his height, stuff, and swing-and-miss repertoire, there's plenty of reason to be optimistic that he'll improve with experience. MLB.com's take:
While his overall command needs work - true of so many young pitchers - he projects to have the stuff that should allow him to miss plenty of bats in the future. He has the chance to have three effective pitches in a fastball, curve and changeup. After pitching on a strict limit in his first full season, the gloves could come off in the near future.
It's easy to be overly excited by someone like Owens, who is so young and found so much success in his first go of things -- a whole lot of things could happen between now and the time the young hurler is ready for the majors, not all of them good. However, his talent is undeniable, and if he's able to approach his ceiling someday, Boston will be the better for it.
Blake Swihart ranked ninth among catchers in this list, and it's easy to see why. While he has work to do both offensively and defensively, his ceiling suggests that there's a productive backstop here who can also hit well -- as a switch-hitter, he might even end up as a solid run producer without a limiting platoon split. Given he was all of 20 years old in his first full season, Swihart might not be in the majors for years, but should be worth the wait if he makes it that far. As MLB.com points out, he has potentially above-average tools defensively, and with growth and age should come some power behind the plate, too.
There are sure to be at least a few more Sox prospects making their way into this series' rankings, but for now, it's good to see someone besides the Bs get national recognition.