Top 12 Jays Draft Targets, JJ Edition: #2 Henry Owens
This message will continue to be posted on each of the top 12 draft targets I will be listing daily until draft day: the players listed are not “the best” players in the draft, they are simply those that I believe could be around when the Jays draft, and that could wind up being selected by the Blue Birds when their turns come up. The list has 12 of the top targets and will be presented in reverse order (from least likely, to most likely). Yet another prep arm is next with…
#2: Henry Owens (18)
LH Pitcher / 6’7″ 200 lbs / California
High School Team: Edison HS
- Went 10-1 with a 1.98 ERA as a Sophomore in HS.
- His 3 years in HS have seen him accumulate a 24-3 record with a 1.14 ERA.
- Gets compared to Tyler Skaggs quite a bit.
- Has size 17 shoes. That had to be mentioned.
- 2011: 11-0, 1.10 ERA, 77 IP, 41 hits, 25 BB, 114 Ks
- There is a video available on YouTube here.
Pre-Draft Rankings (out of all pitchers in brackets):
- BA Ranking May 25th: #32(19)
- John Sickels May 20th: Out of 1st rd
The big easy is where I’d start when speaking about Henry Owens. Nothing phases him, he’s methodical, and he’s imposing on the mound. At 6’7″ 200 lbs, and still a teenager, he could still wind up an inch or two tallet, and will most likely add strength to his already mammoth frame. However, as Jon Rauch has shown during his time in MLB, just because you’re a giant it doesn’t mean you’re going to be throwing heat above and beyond the speed of others.
Owens tends to work in the 89-92 MPH range. Some have said that he’s touched 94 MPH this season, but it is still on an occasional basis at this point. So why is he sp high on draft boards if he isn’t really able to throw dominanting heat? Well, first, he’s got a great delivery that offers deception as the ball comes out of his hand so late. Second, he’s got 2 off-speed offerings that he throws for strikes at will. His change up sits at 80-82 MPH, and his curve has reportedly really tightened up this year and works at 71-74 MPH. Is that all? Actually, no, it isn’t.
He has most recently began throwing a slider, as well as everyone’s new favorite pitch – a cutter. He has shown a feel for both pitches, and along with his change up, they make up his 5-pitch arsenal that is dominated by his fastball-curve-change up combination.
Still, as with any HS arm, there are questions about Owens that cause some pause. The lack of a true plus “strike out” pitch, and the slower than anticipated increase in velocity have both caused many scouts to back up on Ownes overall. That’s why, despite his big frame, easy delivery, and command, he has been projected to be drafted at the back of the 1st rd or in the supplemental round.
While I don’t see the Jays jumping on such a high-risk pick in the 1st rd, I do believe that they’ll jump all over Owens if he’s available at the beginning of the Sandwich round. He has a much higher ceiling that people give him credit for, and I absolutely believe that a lot of people are much too hard on him due to his size. If a 6’2″ pitcher coming out of HS had exactly the same credentials as Owens, I don’t think scouts would be as hard on the fact that his fastball doesn’t work in the 92-94 MPH range yet.
Expected Selection (if selected by the Jays): In the Sandwich round, 35th overall.
I would not even be surprised to see Owens be grabbed by the Jays at #21, but at this point, my thoughts are that enough guys will slip through the cracks for the Jays to grab a more “sure” pick in the 1st round. The “slipping” is also a big reason I believe he may be available at #35 for the Jays. As we’ve read this week with the Astros/Chris Reed story, some guys currently ranked in the 31-50 range will likely jump up to the 20-30 range. If true, Owens could be yet another top-end Blue Jays pitching prospect.
As a 6’7″ LHP intimidator with command, I certainly hope this pick comes to fruition.
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