LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers claimed pitcher Henry Owens off waivers from the Diamondbacks, adding a former top prospect with bouts of wildness.
The left-hander posted a 4.21 ERA in 26 starts between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in the Red Sox system in 2017. He struck out 121 in 126 innings but also walked a whopping 115 batters, a stunning 19.5% walk rate.
Owens, 25, was a consensus top-50 before the 2015 season, rated as high as the 19th-best prospect in baseball per MLB dot com, and was a consensus top-100 prospect prior to 2014. He was drafted in the supplemental first round in 2011 out of Edison High School in Huntington Beach.
It is unknown exactly what role Owens will serve with the Dodgers, should he remain in the organization, but 161 of his 162 games between the majors and minors has been as a starter, with his lone relief appearance coming in his professional debut in the Class-A Sally League in 2012.
Henry Owens statistics
Owens pitched in the majors for parts of the 2015 and 2016 seasons with Boston, posting a 5.19 ERA in 16 starts, with 71 strikeouts and 44 walks in 85 innings.
Upon his demotion to Double-A in July, he walked six of eight batters in his first start for Portland. He changed his mechanics in Double-A, switching to a sidearm delivery.
“Every single start has felt a little better, or more comfortable,” he said. “Even just playing catch every day, it feels more natural,” Owens told Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald in September. “It’s something to look at as a positive going into the offseason, and into the Arizona Fall League.”
Owens walked five batters in two innings for Peoria in his Arizona Fall League debut, but walked only three batters total over his final three starts, totaling 13 innings.
The Diamondbacks claimed Owens off waivers from the Red Sox on Dec. 8, but Arizona needed room on their 40-man roster for the signing of Japanese relief pitcher Yoshihisa Hirano to a two-year contract. The Dodgers were also reported to have interest in Hirano.
Owens has 100 days of major league service time and one option year remaining, having used options in 2016 and 2017. The Dodgers have 39 players on their 40-man roster.