Time May Be Running Out for Trio of Prospects in Boston
The Boston Red Sox farm system is known for pumping big-name prospects into their major league club year after year. Boston owns the #4 overall farm system according to Baseball America. On Thursday the Red Sox sent down three pitchers: Heath Hembree, Brian Johnson, and Henry Owens. All three are destined for Fenway Park eventually, but time may be running for the trio too make their mark at the big league level
Working mainly in relief this spring, Hembree is the oldest of his fellow prospects. The 27-year old struggled with his command in camp, sporting a 1.250 WHIP with a 5.63 ERA. However, Hembree appeared in only six games, throwing eight innings, giving up five runs on only five hits. With the recent injury to Carson Smith, Hembree may see major league time to help shore up the bullpen throughout the season.
Brian Johnson had his fair share of struggles in spring as well. In less than five innings pitched, Johnson surrendered nine hits that drove in six runs. This is not the 25-year old’s first struggle against major league opponents. In a spot start for the Red Sox last season, he again lasted less than five innings giving up four runs, earning the loss. Johnson’s success in the minor leagues has yet to translate to the majors, but in due time we may see him back in the Boston rotation late in 2016.
The youngest and and most promising of the recruits, Henry Owens demotion to the minors may be seen as a surprise, considering the promise he’s shown in the minors. The 6’7 lefty has not enjoyed a great spring, owning a 5.40 ERA over five games. A left-handed trio of David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens, is a potentially dangerous combination, one that Red Sox fans may not see until later on this year. However, as young as Owens may be, the same promising narrative has been told for the past two seasons, with limited big-league production to show for it.
For Red Sox nation, it has been a long time coming for these three prospects. Each of the pitchers have received their fare share of hype at one point or another. However, time is against them. Boston’s farm system has been one of the best for years now, churning out big league hitters like Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Travis Shaw. Eduardo Rodriguez is one of the few successful pitching prospects that Boston has been able to call up recently. If the trio sent down to the minors Thursday cannot find success in Boston soon, the Red Sox may need to find alternative pitching prospects.