Henry Owens

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Henry Owens K’s 9 in PawSox win; Sam Travis almost the hero in Portland

Ken Laird
July 19, 2015 - 8:45 am

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (41-53): W, 5-1, at Durham (Rays) -- LHP Henry Owens (Boston'€™s No. 2 prospect at MLB.com) struck out nine for the second start in a row, earning the victory (3-7, 3.26 ERA) with a final line of: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO (96 pitches, 59 strikes). Owens was removed after a leadoff double in the seventh inning, with Owens'€™ only allowed run coming in to score with reliever Matt Barnes on the mound (a wild pitch and ensuing sacrifice fly scored the run). Owens, 22, walked two batters with two outs in the second but used a 77 mph offspeed pitch on a 3-2 offering to get out of the jam. In the fourth, Owens had his ranging velocities on display as he struck out the side, whiffing the first two on fastballs that registered 89 and 90 mph on the Durham Park radar gun, then ending the frame with a big, slow 73 mph curveball. It was the eight start this season that Owens, a 6-foot-6 lefty, has allowed one earned run or less while going five or more innings. A first-round selection by Boston in the 2011 draft (36th overall), Owens has pitched six or more innings in seven straight outings, with a 2.73 ERA (46 IP/ 14 ER) over that span while striking out 43 and walking 12. Owens'€™ 94 strikeouts this year are the second most in the International League. -- Shortstop Marco Hernandez scored Pawtucket'€™s first run after a single in the third, keeping his hitting streak alive at 16 games as he'€™s hit in each of his first three games in Triple-A. Hernandez, 22, was leading the Double-A Eastern League with an average of .326 when he was promoted after the All-Star break. So far in Pawtucket he'€™s gone 6-for-13 (.462) with a homer, a double and five runs scored. -- Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and right fielder Rusney Castillo had multi-hit games for the PawSox, with Bradley going 3-for-5 and Castillo 2-for-4. Bradley'€™s single in the seventh scored two and gave Pawtucket a 4-0 lead; his .317 average is third best in the International League. -- RHP Ronald Belisario made his Pawtucket debut and pitched a perfect ninth, striking out a batter on a 94 mph fastball. The 32-year-old Belisario was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay earlier this month after pitching much of the season for Triple-A Durham. Belisario pitched in just six games in the majors this year and recently was placed on waivers after giving up seven earned runs in eight innings. The veteran has pitched in 341 major league games in his career with the Dodgers, White Sox and Rays, earning a lifetime 3.85 ERA over 339 innings dating back to 2009. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (32-62): L, 5-4 in 11 innings, at New Hampshire (Blue Jays) -- First baseman Sam Travis (Boston'€™s No. 12 prospect at MLB.com) was almost the hero, as he hit his first Double-A home run in the top of ninth to give Portland a 4-2 lead. However, RHP Madison Younginer allowed a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth and four singles in the 11th as Portland dropped its seventh straight game. Travis, 21, turned on a pitch and pulled his homer over the wall in left after Blake Swihart had reached base ahead of him on a single. A second-round selection by Boston in the 2014 draft out of Indiana University, Travis hit five home runs for High-A Salem this year in 66 games including his last on June 17. Called up to Portland on June 25, Travis has played in 22 games in Double-A and is slashing .293/.355/.402 with six extra-base hits. -- Swihart caught nine innings and went 1-for-4 at the plate in his fourth rehab game (sprained foot). The 23-year-old switch-hitter is 3-for-7 in two games with Portland after having his rehab assignment transferred from Pawtucket, where he was 0-for-6 in two appearances. Swihart has caught in two of the four games he'€™s played, appearing as the DH in the other two. -- Center fielder Manuel Margot (Boston'€™s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com) was 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot, scoring a run and stealing his seventh base while also being thrown out on a steal attempt. The 20-year-old Dominican is hitting .282/.351/.388 over 22 games with Portland, with hits in five straight games and 11 of the last 12. -- RHP Luis Diaz was not rewarded for his best start of the season, receiving a no-decision after seven shutout innings over which he allowed just three hits. In four July starts the 6-foot-3 Diaz is 1-2 with a 2.52 ERA, striking out 17 over 25 innings against eight walks. Five of his last six outings have produced quality starts. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (49-44): W, 6-4, vs. Lynchburg (Indians) -- LHP Trey Ball (Boston'€™s No. 9 prospect at MLB.com) picked up his first win since June 19 (7-8, 3.61 ERA), giving up just one earned run through 5 2/3 innings despite battling command issues with a season high six walks and a wild pitch. He was removed with two outs in the sixth and a runner at first. The 21-year-old Ball, who stands 6-foot-6, struck out two and erased one runner on a pick-off move to first. The seventh overall pick of the 2013 draft, Ball had a terrific month of June as he went 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA (5 ER/28 1/3 IP) over five starts but has regressed a bit in July, going 1-2 with a 3.27 ERA through four appearances while walking 12. His 44 walks on the season are the third most in the Carolina League. -- Salem'€™s offense used a four-run fifth inning to defeat Lynchburg at home for the first time in 10 tries this season. The big hits in the frame were a two-run single by first baseman Mario Martinez and a two-run double by left fielder Kevin Heller. Martinez finished 2-for-4 and now has a 13-game hitting streak, the longest current streak in the Carolina League and the longest for Salem this season. Martinez, a 25-year-old Venezuelan, also has separate eight and nine-game streaks this season. Over his current surge, Martinez is hitting .444 (20-for-45) with 11 RBIs and nine runs scored. Heller, 25, was 1-for-2 and raised his average to .318 (14-for-44) over 14 games played in July with nine RBIs and six runs scored. On the season Heller is slashing .297/.406/.412 over 49 games, with his on-base percentage just short of enough plate appearances slot to qualify for third best in the Carolina League. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (50-43): L, 6-4 in 10 innings, vs. Asheville (Rockies) -- DH Rafael Devers (Boston'€™s No. 3 prospect at MLB.com) smacked his eighth home run of the season and third this month, finishing 2-for-5 to raise his average to .300. It was a solo shot for the lefty Devers, driving it over the 420-foot wall at Fluor Field and over the bullpen behind it. Over the last six games Devers is connecting at a .480 clip (12-for-25) with four of the six multi-hit games. The 18-year-old Devers hit seven home runs all of last season, combined over 70 games in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League. -- Shortstop Javier Guerra (Boston'€™s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) extended his hitting streak to eight games and now has reached safely in 16 straight, with his seventh multi-hit game in his last eight on a 2-for-4 night to go with a run scored. Guerra, a 19-year-old Panamanian, is hitting .467 (28-for-60) in July with four homers, 15 RBIs and 15 runs scored. Guerra did get charged with his 19th error, a borderline scoring decision as Guerra came in hard on a high chopper up the middle and bobbled it on the attempted exchange from glove to throwing hand. On the season, Guerra is slashing .311/.367/.520 with 12 home runs. His slugging percentage is second highest in the South Atlantic League, with his home run total ranking fourth and his batting average currently tied for seventh. -- Catcher J.T. Watkins had two more hits, both doubles, giving him nine hits in his last four games to put him at .391 (9-for-23) on the season with Greenville in his first professional action since 2012. The 25-year-old Watkins was drafted by Boston in 2012 in the 10th round out of the United States Military Academy at West Point and is a commissioned second lieutenant in the Army. Watkins played 17 games with Lowell in 2012 before returning to military duty, and although he has been granted opportunity this season to pursue his baseball career Watkins may be recalled for active military duty at any time over the next six years. -- RHP Ben Taylor started and made his Greenville debut, allowing one earned run on four hits through four innings of work. The 22-year-old threw 65 pitches, with 43 for strikes, whiffing four batters to go with one walk. Taylor, drafted by Boston in the seventh round this year out of the University of South Alabama, was promoted quickly from Lowell after just four outings there where he struck out 17 in 10 innings of work out of the bullpen. -- Yoan Moncada (Boston'€™s No. 1 prospect at MLB.com) had the night off. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (16-12): L, 3-1, at Staten Island (Yankees) -- Center fielder Andrew Benintendi, Boston'€™s top pick (seventh overall) in this year'€™s draft, reached base three times with a single and two walks, also scoring the lone Lowell run in the fourth inning on a RBI groundout from Hector Lorenzana. In his first three games back after being held out of the lineup for four straight days, Benintendi is 3-for-9 with a triple, five walks, and three runs scored. -- LHP Luis Ramos pitched well, with a no-decision final line of: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO (79 pitches, 53 strikes). Ramos allowed a solo homer in the fourth for his only blemish. A 20-year-from Panama, Ramos was 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA last year in the Gulf Coast League and did not allow a home run in 12 games and 43 innings, mostly out of the bullpen. This season through six starts, Ramos is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (16-7): W, 7-2, vs. GCL Twins -- RHP Kevin Steen allowed his first earned run of the season, with a final line of: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO. The 18-year-old, selected by Boston in the ninth-round of the 2014 draft out of high school in Tennessee (away from a University of Tennessee commitment), is 3-1 this year with a 0.45 ERA in five outings. He has struck out 21 to just three walks in 20 innings. -- Center fielder Yoan Aybar went 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored to raise his average to .313 over 18 games played this year in the Gulf Coast League. Aybar, inked by Boston during the 2013 international signing period for $450,000 out of the Dominican Republic, is 21-for-67 with two triples and two doubles. Last year in the Dominican Summer League he slashed .271/.317/.411 over 56 games. -- Shortstop Yomar Valentin also tripled, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Selected by Boston in the 20th round of this year'€™s draft out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Valentin has reached safely in four of five games so far as a professional with six runs scored, hitting 4-for 19 (.211) with two extra base hits. Check out the weekly WEEI.com Red Sox Farm Report Podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.