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Looking at the Newest Arizona Diamondback, Henry Owens

Will acquiring Owens make an impact?

Henry Owens delivers a pitch
Henry Owens delivers a pitch
Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images


The Red Sox drafted him 36th overall in the 2011 draft. In the Majors, he started a total of 16 games from 2015 to 2016. The Red Sox left him in the minors in 2017. This week, the Red Sox placed him on outright waivers.

The Diamondbacks claimed him off waivers.

  • Date of birth: July 21, 1992
  • 2017 No games in the Majors
  • 2018 projected (Baseball Reference): 62.0 IP, 4.65 ERA, 2.15 K:BB
  • 2018 salary: minimum


What Pitches Are in His Arsenal?

He is a starter. He has up to 5 pitches he might use in 2018. His change-up is his best pitch, although some say his fastball is better. His slider was very effective in August/September of 2015.

Pitches - Henry Owens

Pitch Velocity(MPH) Outstanding Pitch? Most Recently Used
Pitch Velocity(MPH) Outstanding Pitch? Most Recently Used
Change 78 yes 2017
Fastball (4-seam) 89 yes 2017
Curve 78 2017
Slider 78 2015
Sinker 89 2016
Data from Brooks Baseball

His Rookie Year Showed Flashes.

His first year in the Majors was 2015 – it was his best performance. He started 11 games. Although the overall result was not great, he showed flashes of greatness.

“Indeed, nothing illustrated his potential better than his 7.2 shutout innings in his second to last start against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway, a team more than capable of connecting in a park that lends itself to just that.” Stephen Little, 24 Dec 2015.

Three times he pitched more than 103 pitches in a game. Two of the three times that happened, in his next start he allowed 7 earned runs (see chart).

When we throw out three starts (with their 21 earned runs), his other 8 starts have an earned run average of 1.94 and a K/BB of 2.0. That is great pitching!

His Pitch Control is an Issue.

His rate of walks (minors and Majors) was higher the last two seasons.

Will D-Back Coaching Unlock His Potential?

Torey Lovullo gives his players freedom to express their emotions so their minds can focus on performance. This philosophy may be what Henry Owens needs. In an interview with David Laurila, Owens said, “When your mind is free — when your consciousness is free — is when you’re at your best.”

Because Henry Owens is tall like Randy Johnson, it was speculated that coaching by Randy Johnson, whose pitch control bloomed relatively late in his career (he led the American League in walks for three consecutive seasons), could provide the key to Owens achieving consistent pitch control.

Another possibility is that Randy Johnson could help Owens increase the effectiveness of his sinker and slider (two pitches that RJ used very effectively), so that Owens could add them back into his arsenal.

Will Acquiring Owens Make An Impact? The odds are 50-50. Nevertheless, I love this acquisition because 1) Owens showed his high potential in 2015, 2) the upside is much higher than the downside, and 3) Owens could bloom with Diamondback coaching.