April 1, 2014 at 10:47 AM
Opening the year with Double-A Portland will be top pitching prospect Henry Owens (pictured), catcher Blake Swihart and second baseman Mookie Betts, the organization announced Tuesday. Shortstop and former first-round draft pick Deven Marrero and first baseman Travis Shaw will join them.
Click here for the full roster.
The left-handed Owens, slotted at No. 3 in SoxProspect.com's rankings, is the top name and had a taste of Double-A after dominating with High A Salem most of last summer. In six starts with the Sea Dogs, Owens posted a 1.78 ERA and 1.09 WHIP while striking out 46 batters and walking 15 in 30 1/3 innings.
Swihart, who as the system's top catching prospect is ranked No. 5, hit .298 with a .366 on-base percentage and .428 slugging mark with Salem in 2013. He will turn 22 on Thursday, Opening Day. Betts will be looking to follow up on his breakout 2013 campaign (.314/.417/.506) against more advanced pitching.
Betts' double-play partner is another player who had a taste of Portland in August: Marrero. The slick-fielding shortstop hit .236 in 19 games at Double-A and is fresh off his second big league camp.
Joining them in the infield is 22-year-old Sean Coyle. A second baseman by trade, Coyle saw some time at third in spring training, and given Betts' presence he could see a fair amount of time at the hot corner. Coyle struggled with injury for part of last season, and when he got on the field he hit just .241. However, he drew enough walks for a .321 OBP and flashed some power, using 14 homers and nine doubles for a .513 slugging percentage.
First baseman Travis Shaw, who spent 2013 in Portland, rounds out the infield. Outfielder Bo Greenwell — son of former Red Sox Mike Greenwell — reliever Noe Ramirez and righty Keith Couch are also with the Sea Dogs.
Photo credit: Henry Owens by Kelly O'Connor.
Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.