SoxProspects News

June 28, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Scouting Scratch: Owens, Callahan and more from Pawtucket


PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- In today’s Scouting Scratch, we’ll feature notes from a two-day, four game stretch in Pawtucket on June 17 & 18 against Rochester (MIN).

Left-hander Henry Owens was demoted to Double-A on Monday after a string of poor starts with Pawtucket. For the year, Owens has 60 walks in 69 innings, and in his last three starts he has walked 19 hitters in 15 2/3 innings. I was at the second start of that stretch, when he walked four over seven innings. This was a weird outing for Owens, who struggled for the first two innings, then retired 14 hitters in a row. His overall line was seven innings, three hits, two runs with four walks and five strikeouts. 

It was clear from the start that Owens was struggling with his mechanics. He has been tinkering with them significantly since the beginning of the year including raising his hands at the start and going to a full windup. The Red Sox announced along with the demotion that they plan to drop Owens’ arm slot from high three-quarters to a true three-quarters. At this point, something had to be done—even though Owens had a couple strong innings in the start I saw, it was clear something wasn’t right with his mechanics. Owens long limbs mean he has a lot of moving parts than can be tough to keep in sync. In this outing, Owens was starting on the third base side of the rubber, but his foot was landing on the first base side and pointing in different directions each pitch. His arm was also dragging behind, leading to him constantly missing high and arm-side. 

Owens’ velocity was also inconsistent, varying from 86-92 mph, but primarily sitting 88-90 mph. He couldn’t control his fastball, and when he was successful, he was pitching backwards off of his curveball and changeup. His curveball and changeup both weren’t as good as I had seen in past years either. His curveball was rolling to the plate and he struggled to find a consistent release point for it, failing to record a single swinging strike against it. His changeup lacked the downward movement it had shown in the past and also didn’t fool any hitters, which used to be something he could rely on even when he was struggling. 

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I wrote about Jamie Callahan last week after an outing in which he struggled. The next time I saw Callahan was the best I’ve seen him this year as he dominated over a quick, 1-2-3 inning, during which he got six swinging strikes in 12 pitches and struck out two. 

Callahan’s fastball sat 94-95 mph with late life that stems from the extension he gets to the plate. If Callahan can consistently command the pitch, it will play at the big league level. Callahan mixed in both his cutter and splitter and got swinging strikes with both. His splitter showed plus potential at 87 mph with late dive down and away from left-handed hitters. The cutter also showed average potential with short, horizontal movement at 87-88 mph. 

Though Callahan’s overall numbers in Pawtucket don’t look great, they are skewed by three bad outings over his 13 appearances, in which he gave up 11 of the 15 hits and 8 of the 9 earned runs he has allowed since his promotion. Callahan is Rule 5 eligible for the first time this offseason and is a lock to be added to the 40-man roster before then. Given how he is pitching, he has the type of arm that could help the Red Sox bullpen in the middle innings down the stretch, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make his major league debut this summer.

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The road back from Tommy John surgery has been a slow one for Brandon Workman, but the most recent outing of his I scouted was encouraging. Workman’s velocity had been in the high-80s mostly the past two years, touching 91-92 mph on occasion. But in this outing, he sat 90-92 mph and touched 94. His fastball had zip that it hadn’t in prior looks, and it showed as he got four swinging strikes with the pitch. 

Workman featured both of his secondaries—a short, horizontal cutter at 86-88 mph and vertical curveball at 80-81 mph that lacks depth. Workman’s release point was inconsistent and he had some trouble with his control, but he got through three shutout innings. 

The rehab process from Tommy John varies from pitcher to pitcher, but if Workman can find his pre-surgery form, he could become an intriguing right-handed depth option for the Red Sox bullpen. 

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Right-hander Noe Ramirez sat 90-91 mph out of the bullpen. Ramirez throws from a low three-quarters arm slot that is tough on right-handed hitters, especially when he is locating his fastball down in the zone like he was in this outing. He showed both his secondaries, neither of which projects as better than average—a slurvy breaking ball at 77-79 mph and changeup at 84-85 mph. Ramirez has been on the Pawtucket-to-Boston shuttle since 2015, and that’s his likely long-term role as a major leaguer—a solid, up-and-down reliever.

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After a rough start to the 2017 season in which he gave up multiple runs in three of his first four outings, right-hander Kyle Martin has really settled down and showed why he was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 Draft this offseason. Since April 21, Martin has thrown 23 2/3 innings, allowing only five earned runs with 24 strikeouts to 7 walks. 

Martin has a huge frame, listed at 6-foot-7, 240 pounds. In the outing scouted, his fastball sat 91-94 mph. His best secondary pitch is his changeup, which shows plus potential at 80-81 mph. He has strong feel for the pitch and throws it with deceptive arm speed. The pitch shows late drop and has bat-missing ability. Martin will also show a below-average slider in the low-80s that he added this season, but he throws it sparingly in short stints. 

As a senior sign out of Texas A&M for only $10,000, Martin has already provided a positive return on that investment by even becoming a legitimate Triple-A reliever. If he continues to pitch like he has of late, he could make his major league debut this year. 

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Right-hander Marcus Walden was signed as a minor league free agent this off-season after a strong 2016 season out of the bullpen in the Twins system. But with the Pawtucket rotation seemingly in constant shuffle this year, the 28-year-old Walden has received most of his work in a starting role. Walden is undersized, listed at 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, and has a strong, quick arm. Walden runs his fastball up to 96 mph, but the pitch lacks plane and doesn’t miss as many bats as you’d expect at that velocity. He will mix in what looks like a cutter on occasion, but for the most part he only features his fastball, adding and subtracting velocity and varying its movement. 

Photo credits: Henry Owens, Jamie Callahan and Kyle Martin by Kelly O'Connor

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.

 
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