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Red Sox top pitching prospect Henry Owens unhittable … again

04.03.14 at 11:35 pm ET
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Left-hander Henry Owens  (WEEI.com)

Left-hander Henry Owens (WEEI.com)

Left-hander Henry Owens tossed six no-hit innings for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, a continuation of the form that characterized his dominant 2013 season that earned him the title of Most Unhittable Left-hander in the Minors (in this offseason Minor Details podcast with Jim Callis of MLB.com).

Owens, pitching against the Reading Fightin Phils, punched out nine, walked two and recorded four outs via groundball in his rain-shortened, complete-game no-hitter. He threw 86 pitches, with 69 percent of those finding the strike zone, with 19 of those offerings (12 fastballs, seven changeups) resulting in swings and misses. According to Sea Dogs play-by-play man Mike Antonellis, Owens’ fastball registered at 90-92 mph on the scoreboard.

The fact that Owens didn’t allow a hit was something less than shocking. After all, the 21-year-old had three starts in 2013 — two in High-A Salem and one after his August promotion to Double-A — in which he didn’t give up a hit. Indeed, Owens reeled off a 19 1/3 inning no-hit streak while holding opponents to a paltry .177 batting average against, the lowest among all qualifying minor leaguers.

The left-hander — who was a non-roster invitee to big league spring training, where he went 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA in two outings spanning 4 1/3 innings — is the consensus top pitching prospect in the Red Sox system coming off a year in which he finished second in the minors with 169 strikeouts. Thursday’s outing will do nothing to diminish that status.

Portland beat Reading, 5-0, in the rain-shortened affair, with second baseman Mookie Betts making his Double-A debut by going 4-for-4 with a homer. More on the opening day for the Red Sox minor league system will be found in Friday morning’s minor league roundup.

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