Mar 17, 2014|
The Red Sox farm system appears loaded with near major league-ready starting pitching prospects. Ralph Treuel, in his 14th year as the Red Sox pitching coordinator, discusses how the talent base compares to other years. Top Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens also joins to discuss his first big league spring training.
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You've already heard a lot about the Red Sox pool pitching prospects let's bring in with good reason. The team has what may be the largest group of nearly Major League ready starting pitchers in all of baseball. Henry Allentown Webster Brandon Workman Matt Barnes and that you're not a hundred dollar -- give the Red Sox the type of prospect at that is rarely seen thing about this. In theory their attacks could see every one of their anticipated season opening starters. Land on the disabled list is still have the makings of at least a credible Major League rotation that is ridiculous. What chicken with Henry Owens the top prospect in that group but first spur broader perspective we'll talk to Ralph trial. Troy is now in his nineteenth season with the Red Sox. Martina which have come in his current role as the pitching coordinator tasked with connecting with every pitcher in the system. He knows what Jon Lester looked like as an eighteen year old but Felix LeBron looked like at sixteen what Clay Buchholz looked like it nineteen in other progression up towards the major leagues. He's also seen this current group making its own way up towards the majors there's a trial describes the current state of Red Sox pitching prospects. -- Since I've been here I think you know definitely is the deepest you know we've been and I know my first year over here I was pitching coach in Trenton and I was very impressed with 320 girls -- guys like Brian rose Carl put on chronic kidney Barkley union to movement in the big -- There was a little bit of that drives price though there and then of course molesters came along that apple -- came along buckles came along and and I mean -- was overall impact type pitchers. You know definitely impacted me to staff to accuse a couple of world championships on. But without question this is another really deep group and know which -- have to see how well you know develop hopefully turn out to be. Guys like Papelbon Lester and -- into Bronson. Can you call another year like last year when things that was amazing to me was that seemed like your development happened almost in -- that whole group of guys start the year in -- way. Progressed. And I you know to me that's that's not really how it usually works especially with the on the pitching. No it's not we were very fortunate you know we have guys that at Portland in about -- who's a who's been with me and him with the organizational on time it's -- a lot of patience and and it's really good as really good program. And these guys really. You know they. They bought into what it was doing and you know it was a it was a very interesting -- I mean let's face and then -- and I would we -- kidney chose yes agree staff last acute crisis and -- these huge promoters -- -- itself but that. You know those guys all all did really well progressed very well and you know I give crypt. But I kept some a lot of credit but also I mean give those kids like I mean guys like Workman Renato and Barnes. In Britain it would just kind of push each other and it was it was really. -- -- one of the interesting things to me about last year was that in Tripoli you guys had something that you hadn't had a lot of report which was. My -- you know high ceiling prospects tour -- from another organization mid career. How what the challenges like -- green guys from outside the organization. In the middle of their development like -- -- and countless. Well definitely those two guys came over here with you know very highly regarded you know within the industry. Again you know we you know ruby was he was limited early on and then once we kind of took the U restraints -- and he started takeoff -- the -- here once is is his pitches and so inning. Allotment went -- Webster I mean outside of probably two or three outings probably would have been our pitcher of the year his numbers in Tripoli were that good and I know. People always look at him what happened at the Major League level. But it is just part of the -- into the system that we have with the pitching coaches. That are are they all buy into this and into bar routines in our system and it's and it's a real simple thing means basically. -- throw your fastball for strikes work on and off speed pitch you know keep hitters off speed pitches the last. With Webster protect. It seemed like in the middle of the summer he had he had he he had been for doing a great job of throwing strikes early and then just lost the zone with -- -- -- What do you do with a -- like who. Middle of the season after you have to figure something out. Especially you don't have that same depth of history with him that you might have you with some the other. Well I think that's what happened I think now that we have some history with him we we just basically told him tickle all more simpler approach to when he was trying to do when he got back to just be -- Basic -- -- more four -- -- and then you simmers and you got to feel that he's finished off the really strong and I'll talk a bit. You know right now given a year with ruby and with with -- you know we've got to we've got a pretty good idea you know how to approach now when -- do struggle that. Talking with rough trail Red Sox pitching coordinator. How tall are you I'm 664. And a half and shrinking daily. Okay what's it like working with a system that is kind of a loaded with these giants I mean it's. It is striking watching some of -- you know because prospects typically you know because we're non roster entities are. First timers in big league camp typically coming together and you know to me it's like you see these it's you know just. Giants coming in when you see Varnado and Workman in Henry Owens all you know coming in together. -- we had you know of late we've had we have -- a lot of tall pitchers but since I've been in this organization you know the best pitcher I've ever seen has been Pedro Martinez who you know is you know barely six foot tall. Yeah our our scouting director Ayman Al surprisingly he I talked to him a few years ago -- -- on the L if you if you going to be looking them in the -- Or looking down to him don't sign him to make sure you look and -- and strained neck and he's done a really good job of you know bit -- -- union big physical guy but that's not to say you know. The six foot right handers and a five foot ten right -- -- six foot left handers it all depends how much ability to have how quickly they can develop how quickly they can adapt so I think pitchers come in all different shapes and sizes but you're right this organization right now we do have a lot of realty. Big guys he's walking through walking through 456 fields. Why do you like you say that about the idea of you know just generally looking up at the pitchers meaning what what advantages to -- pitchers have while I think I think historically if you look at the guys have been big physical guys they believe they last little bit longer think the you variables that took -- You know throw -- 20200. Plus innings. Get deeper into games. But again you know there's there's exceptions to every rule so I mean we're -- -- I don't want stereo -- that every pitcher has to be six foot 5220. Pounds deserves a lot of pitchers that -- six foot 5220. Pounds but I think. This this is a game where you know you're looking for big physical guys and I think the difference you see when you look at Major League clubhouse and it's and able clubhouse how big. And strong and it's mainly about the strength how much stronger they are than -- guys and able. Interest and giving you some names and talking about kind of their foremost strengths and then also you know hearing their their primary development -- Going forward so let's start at the top we mentioned on western rupee dollar us -- -- -- -- and foremost and most important thing in front of them in terms they're tired at all. We'll also have really good on. They rely on their fastball and I think that's their strength I think go. Being able to harness and restaurants being able to command the fastball being able to command you know both sides of the plate -- thrown -- throwing it in and you know now an up and down off. And again at their primary secondary pitches and there are of their changeup and and rubio as a really good -- ministers as well be us also in you know working on their their third pitch and just that feels slow on the game down guys get on base being able to control the running game and outlet. Let it become attract me around him. And that he Granada had a really interest in year one in which he was very effective in and Portland and then had basically the senior -- protected with -- different approach. His strikeouts went -- so it -- walks. What's what's facing him in terms of its open what's his most. I think I think last year getting 150 innings out of Anthony camp -- you know exceeded what do we go we're gonna give him considered when he did the year before on. Again it's just it just. We don't keep going off what he did last year you know the command the -- I think everybody's you know weakness they can become a strength is going to be the command of the fastball being able to locate -- and now and an up and down and I think that's something you did even though the velocity in the strike -- not Warren is -- as great as they were earlier in Portland. He learned how to pitch and that's all part of the process too with these guys I mean it's there it's a pitch ability and their ability make pitches when I had -- -- we saw more of that. With a little bit lesser stuff out of Anthony when he got to pop up faster which I think is really gonna help -- going moving forward might have also been reflection of the fact that he had a hundred or more innings last year in the previous. You know what you gotta get experiencing a wait and get the experience is by throwing innings and I know -- we've -- I think as an industry right now you take a lot of young pitchers and they don't have the opportunity throws. For 500 endings that guys used to be able throat when he got big leagues now guys into big leagues. With a lot less and so you know they're they're training a lot is -- the toughest highest level. At the Major League level and -- AAA you know. Even like Barnes Barnes and AAA is second second school years I mean and and and Workman you know. Third year Renato thirteen years so I mean guys are guys moved through the system relatively quick but they were allowed were they were able to get two -- A little bit quicker because their ability to throw -- fastball over the plate and that's that's the -- Speaking of fastball over the plate and I just mentioned Matt Barnes really interest a year. Crazy high strikeout numbers in Portland although. Wasn't working -- deep into the games has he done in is pretty dominant professional debut in and green violence on the previous year. The for us to attribute inform us department -- for him. Well for again he's another guy that has to continue to refine the development and consistency you know the fastball for me also it's the secondary pitches and I think he became much more efficient -- in the second half. Once he learned to throw a changeup for strikes and and the current one got better. If his numbers early he did strike out a lot of guys and he walked a few guys and he didn't get -- deepening games but I think once. Once you start threw a changeup you know for strikes me it was able threw -- curve ball -- he got deeper and games a lot less interest. He's he's pretty interest in him that he is described as having the best the best -- on the system mine number of people at least. What's that mean in his case how would you describe. What his what he's able to do with his fast. Well I think I think with him he gets a lot more swings and misses on his fastball then that some of the other guys. He also gets a lot more foul -- -- warm miss hits on that Imus and -- all. He -- again throws a lot of fastballs and often strikes on what he's really -- he's locating the cross corner and being able provable you know inside yeah he's got a really good fastball I think everybody we've talked about right now I mean whether it's -- Or were command or who have talked about you know Britain yet but I mean all these guys have really gives us. -- Had Rio and strikes me is a pretty and usual profile. You know prospect -- because. Typically when -- tuchman high school guy who's made this kind of impression such young age it's because yes crazy stuff and clearly Henry has an -- that's really interesting stuff. Bottom but it seems like it's not me it seems like there's a bit of a separate there for him if there at the lower levels of the miners perhaps kind of understanding how to use. Well Henrik you know as a high school pitcher came to us even this first time first time -- -- instructional and there was definitely some pitch ability there that -- -- and a lot of confidence. He takes that confidence now allows them to have to make pitches when he asked if he's got a really good changeup and curveball is coming. And velocity can be a little bit tricky because it it depends on when he gets on the hitter and in his fastball sneaks up on the hitter. A little bit you know better even at ninety to 93 some guys throwing 9596. They just don't squirm out because of the angle -- -- wrong. Yeah I was gonna say why is it that his fastball is able to generate these kinds of swings and misses and has is -- a guy. Who might pitch backwards at lower levels a little bit more than you might typically see eight. Well yes because he has such such confidence you know in his secondary pitch changeup so we that that allows him to throw in some changes maybe earlier -- account. In and finish guys off the fastball. We're just the opposite were guys who you know try to get ahead with a fastball and then keep trying to grind through it in and get finish tomorrow -- break Campbell to change. This seemed like and he has his development and like any other high -- that you can think of since you can now and in recent years the system. Well I think the only other guys that we've had that it has been similar to hand this is Jon Lester you know on and and and again I think Henry you know right this is right there we're we're John Lewis and John have the big here it -- away you know I think his third year and and you know Henry spent now you know two full years right now you know he's already been been double and so -- You know he's got a lot of good things look forward to and he's got a really good stuff and just being around him in this in his first Major League camp handled so really good in and he's. He's a much more mature 21 year old kid -- -- -- high school. Taking a step back. Picky about your role for a second what's changed in terms of kind of defining the routines. Of pitchers as they can move through the ranks of professional ball. What about training these guys you know to be -- developing them deeper for their future success has altered over the course of fourteen years you've done this. Well I think the biggest thing is and I think the Red Sox have done a really good job as you know we've got we've got a lot of resources and you know that our strength and conditioning our medical department I -- that think that gives us an answer these guys come in and I mean they they're taken care of and and the biggest thing is. They can't really developed on the field unless they're healthy and they can't really develop a list are strong and I think. I think we do a really good job you know with with the army medical department of getting these guys weren't -- and strong and and and keep them healthy and and I think a lot has to do with the you know the routines that we have we have not only on the physical. But also on the fund's fundamental side that. We you know we we trying to keep the -- the know that the fundamental and the and the physical type of routines for the long term. How do you prepare them to game -- the Major League level. Again we we start to introduce. Game plan into these guys probably -- in the Carolina league will have we will have a team. Team pitchers meeting -- you know prior to every series you know we've we've done even a little bit in India and South Atlantic League introduces to a happy last year because -- -- second half of the year that started getting more information on guys. At double way you get an opportunity to see you guys a little bit more detail of the more history. AAA I mean we even got you know some are -- system where we can you can actually you know look up you know certain things on certain guys so. It's it's nowhere near what it is that the Major League level but the bottom line is when he gets a Major League level they better learn how to pitch with this ranks first in the senator's weaknesses. Speaking of getting to the Major League level you know again kind of -- a bigger picture sense Brandon Workman throwing in the eight inning of the World Series you got to see Jon Lester who. You must remember from you know from his rookie ball days in 2002. Clay Buchholz to -- it is ally. These are guys who you know we've seen throughout the entirety of their professional career to see their involvement in what proved to be a World Series run. How how gratifying is that for someone -- seemed to make it the entire you know the the over the -- entire arc of their player development. Well it's definitely you know it makes everybody in the organization feel good I mean everybody's been an apartment and you know beaten all our all our pitching coach is happening -- guys like chip you know he's he's had all you know -- of course have. A lot of these guys you know right right from the start so. It doesn't matter if you're in you know you're down the rookie leader in the Dominican and you take pride in special mussina homegrown talent come through enough. And I know 2004 it was very special get our first world championship we didn't really have a lot of homegrown talent on that team and then 2007 all of -- sudden you can see guys starting to come through one. Know last year we had even more and hopefully moving forward you know it's. You know -- it be nice to say you know you're gonna win every year but at least we're gonna keep keep the line moving you know with these young prospects continue to. You know give him integrated into the Major League you know rotation bullpen you don't know even -- position players also and hopefully you know be competitive for years to come. You've heard from -- trial the longtime Red Sox minor league pitching coordinator about the overall state of the system. The -- all of that strong system is currently 21 year old lefthander Henry Owens. In his second full pro season out of high school last year Owens was dominant in both high -- and double A despite being one of the youngest pitchers at his levels. He went eleven and six with a two point 67 ERA and a whopping 169. Strikeouts in just 135 innings. He combines a lanky six foot seven frame with a fastball that gets lots of swings and misses based primarily on deception rather than pure power. He also has a nasty changeup and curveball the projects to be at least average the packages that of a number two or number three starter. And Owens is advanced feel for the art of pitching suggests a solid likelihood that he reaches that ceiling. May be quickly. Oh it was a non roster invites you to big league camp with the Red Sox is here which in his own right was kind of a marker of how highly BR the organization regards him. He did get optioned down to minor league camp last week but before he went down I sat down with Owens to discuss how he used the notion that he's on a fast track. I don't try and think about too much I think that. Age doesn't really matter if you're competing. At the same level your opponent's side trying to think of a tonight I just think. My skill set compares with Europe matches up with shield against. But that's something like you're obviously it's all right so like growing up is that something that came because you know you're -- fit in with the with -- with the older guys to physically. Maybe I mean I don't. The facial features your your mustache was disappointing like the Byron if we're going three to eighty on it what would you give it on on a scouting. -- give. Minus minus. With absolutely no outside. Maybe someday -- That could just for men remained in the box you weren't able to go ball enough in order to apply it during spring. Not not my first -- big league camp. I guess it's worth asking how is big league camp different from what you're used to what you faced. In your first couple of professional springs on the other side of of this company. I think -- campus more there's. It's more than that kind of cluster there's a lot of players in their own daily campus. Really good structure. Is this more professionalism. About how everything. Ruling goes about the business notes there's a good fluidity and -- flown. I've enjoyed it so far. You're you're kind of in in a cluster with the other with the other you know young pitchers who I mean this has been a kind of focal point of the conversation on camp this idea -- it. All the guys are coming together really talented. Howell is that how does that dynamic play out like in terms of you know there -- only so many spots in in the futurist station. -- trying to kind of probably take a step forward. Prove yourself at the same time like it's cool you guys are kind of like this is your college experience right coming up together -- having this shared experience of guys were kind of close to me you know there -- a little older. -- -- -- -- I mean you just gotta love. Competitive spirit always guys that are competitive. Mean -- find three laps three weeks left in the offseason. I just want to and as I dismiss any sort of competitiveness -- -- and -- -- feel like it's playing basketball or other sports that I can't really gotten. Play against each other and I'm not in the video games those funny get back out and is that competitive Bob on. Also kind of like are you a baseball or could you characterize yourself -- like someone who like you know who. It gets like who particularly enjoys. Not everyone enjoys watching became greatly played by all accounts you're someone -- You know who when charting and brilliance and yeah I'm a pitching dork. I can't I couldn't tell. I do -- Gascon and his two -- couple questions here and there likely. Or is in that situation what was your approach there is a better battery so. It's my little -- and -- better under the new. There actually it's worth asking you know just from you from your vantage point having gotten a chance to turn a lot of these guys -- really like locked in on on the aircraft Barnes is summer we've seen quite a bit of action a couple years. How did he develop over the last year. -- He throws a rising fastball. If you -- you don't see it. So I noticed a lot from behind the play guys swing and irresponsible. And I -- and so -- make contact with a fastball. Pop up in the zone obviously appear -- -- on bill and you're making it happen when you elevate -- brilliant -- You have I mean both of you guys -- kind of crazy -- -- that's been the case for both of your professional seasons like you get it was. I'm not sure you're reputed acting in in Greeneville -- it. If you did there are probably a lot of teams that have a lot of time coming up and coming up empty. So how do you get swings and misses to see the boss the guy right but it also has -- can explosiveness in late life you. Have bumps 95 -- every proudly -- and proclaiming that last year. But you're kind of I mean you also pitched a lot it's like what 89 to 92 right how do you get swings and misses on a fastball. Real. I'm Max velocity that thing. Ireland problem that. The road -- and did you ever do that -- did you do that high school where you're like maxim. In. And it worked in high school who worked that time -- Inco. -- at the sale and that. Case that users. When there's no threat fastball up in the zone. And also take a -- Q a lot more movement. I think. Possible in order human fastball command Leo united townhouse court right there boom boom emblem. And that I'm reaching back it's a lot harder in patients. Who had. You've been mindful of your walk crates coming up as well though like that games in which are like man let you know -- I didn't give up any hits walked four guys which happened to you a couple times last year. It is that our blocks a byproduct of the fact that you're. You know that your kind of like your your kind of honing in on the outside corner. Into just missing your spot or you like or as a six foot seven guy who as you know with a considerable number of moving parts -- byproduct of just like. Mean you know. Things are going to things can get out of -- for a guys epic. I think it's it's it's more about. Trust my stuff in the strikes on. I mean obviously. -- them myself -- can get guys -- I have confidence in myself and get guys out the idea. I mean the confidence that comment throwing in the zone. Where it can be and I'll still get the guys out -- -- -- and maybe I get for example if two seamer -- on the outside corner. Waltz in and out. Two inches off the -- so maybe starting in the zone and let it carry out land. Listen a lot that goes and it was more intent wasn't. Last year you had you know what what could be their -- kind of a stupid Goodyear -- you've had these you know three or four outings where you didn't give up any hits you end up having some three -- All the strikeouts. Development Toledo might forget the stats what did you take from last year. Mean well. What I took from last year. In his last year. Was last year and this year is this yes I've -- on a good question. So this is side this is a year in which -- which are standing in the organ you know you're sitting in the quote unquote prospect rankings right right which I'm guilty of -- contributing to. Arden has grown you're number two -- rated by most places the number two prospect in the Red Sox system in the top pitching prospect. Do you sense a different degree of attention. I think he's getting labels prospects this brings upon. Expectations. And tell those expectations are met. On the left handed pitcher. From nineteen beach California in the Boston Red Sox organization. Had Tonka. Do you like having people all of you and apple have high expectations -- -- like that a lot of guys consider prospects. I mean you. 45 guys that are starting pitchers that are -- prospects and then. These guys even look at they -- in our bullpen. We've got unbelievable guys come on the conflict has for the Noe Ramirez every day and it's a struggle for the hardest part of -- -- bars and that's his thing ball. Mostly to. How is the dynamic different now that you aren't big league camp. You know you are somewhat you know your your name has gotten out a little bit more than it would of last year when. You know I would be like one of twelve people sitting on the metal bleachers you know on the back fields like you were throwing him you know striking out fourteen of fifteen batters -- -- I think this is the fan base in Boston overall in. They collapse there wasn't as many people -- seem like and now now look at -- it's pretty pretty crazy look at so I mean. If the hype builds. The fans a common -- yes. In part of that. So. And in terms of in terms of how how the spring is playing out you know how how do you feel at this point you know what it is there anything can you identify any physical differences that you love you feel when you're getting -- the -- So far so good being my body feels great my arm feels loose. And can you can really feel any better in this last year maybe it took me a little longer it and didn't sink along myself I feel like. Kind of how to jumpstart and came -- literally stuff those very beneficial. Of them. The idea that you're in big weekend for a reason right that means you are clearly on the radar you don't have to be. Here you know forty man roster because your I mean it's shoot you don't have to be on the forty man roster for two years is that. Just based on you know the age of which are drafted. They like you're right you're on there -- on there mines. How important is that you. The idea of making an impression in front of guys like John -- and one year of us. -- -- -- The freshman. I got an invite the senior party. Silence that's what it feels like you know it's it's good. Being in IT and beyond here in this in my -- -- -- -- -- the guys and hears -- talking here one. Talked all the pictures and just -- -- minimum. What their expectations are and a team aspect and so solid guys that. What's been the kind of flake was there a breakthrough where you started to realize all this is you know. This sort of get a little closer a little more realistic you know you're invited for instance. To Fenway park at the end of last year. Again something that is specifically targeted you and Matt Barnes -- and -- To come to Fenway just kind of sitting in on what it day in the life of you know pitching staff is like. Was -- that was the rookie development program was that this any of that stuff kind of stand out as being like. Maybe I had a kind of cool landmark in in where your professional career has come and -- you and -- going. Yet I would go back to September. Right after the season ended and I got a call it wouldn't come up in September. Minnesota couple scouting meetings and they threw a lot of information it's a lot so it was still it was good. -- my if you went there and kind of see the team. Walking around the locker room in there in the middle of and behind you know so this is good energy good doesn't stating the buzz in the clubhouse that is going to be part of. Interesting is that part of the team to think about for him because I imagine you know when you're in. When you're making your debut in double A you know it's not like they're like. Sitting down and you know like you know with any kind of advanced statistical information saying -- -- acute and like you know. They execute in this quadrant in the two strikes and you can get this guy. Yeah it was. Very very very exciting. And I wasn't nervous to guard Terrence CU is gone Allison. Like overwhelmed anything I was excited then the excitement grew and I saw. The atmosphere. Was awesome. The idea of getting to the big leagues he. Requires. A couple things when it requires opportunity which you have no control over obviously. And it also requires talent and you putting yourself in a position to convince some OK I'm ready for this. You know taking the opportune part of the equation but you have to do at this stage of her career in order to kind of take the next steps in order show that you are big regret. Let's get better tomorrow he can't over think I don't think. If that makes sense but that can't over think -- over think things and just focus on getting better tomorrow and eventually built home environment. You'd mentioned. The crowds and the enthusiasm that was born of you know of a championship team. Was like for you watching those gains in in October of last year. Growing up and Angel fan you know -- goading him then it would take two strikes throughout the last thing tolerance and a and it's funny because of the two strikes throughout the first thing in their own -- and stand up cheering him. Get excited about personnel and in the sox' confidence. Mean for the best fans in -- as well. -- Natural that I realize you were an angels fan growing up I -- makes sense right from Huntington Beach so you know down the road. And what name it's interesting though because one name that I heard it in outed someone says you know. When -- watched you on the mound was chuck Finley did you ever watch him. Growing up now I watched John Lackey but don't tell -- -- at -- -- eventually when it close to him. Yeah I grew up idolizing. These black on the mound to sizable like as a competitor. Have you had many conversations with them like without revealing this great piece of information did you know did he did you as a -- -- I mean just -- talk on the field in the weight room. Not not about personal. I mean the -- must be like you say that you you know you try to separate you again you don't wanna come off as starstruck and you haven't had this admission by. You know just the fact that you have put yourself in a position to be in the same clubhouse is this guy. Is that you know as you brush away Bucs also vertical aspect of spring training. But -- just the idea that you put yourself in a position to be. Teammates and now in the spring. But this guy you grew up kind of you know drawing from as a kid like how cool is that at this moment in your in your in your baseball. It's pretty surreal once -- time penguin eleven. That was pretty -- So -- question I'll ask you know what you know do you enter this here with any with any specific goals you said earlier get better. And just keep getting better and better all the time. Is there you know do you have an Angolan site. Yes and obviously he refinement fastball command of someone. At some point. Just contribute and help the Red -- -- games. Thanks to both Henry Owens and -- trial for joining this week's show if he'd like to hear the complete interviews with both visit WEEI dot com slash podcast. -- is always to tireless producer pattern today into all of you for tuning -- have a phenomenal week.