Welcome to the official Impaired Insights Red Sox Pitching Preview for 2017. Lots of high hopes for this year, the pitching is the main reason we are projected to win the AL. However, like every year there are a few question marks. We might as well start with the biggest question mark of the year:
David Price – When word got out that David Price was going to see Dr. James Andrews to examine his elbow during Spring training, many people assumed he would need Tommy John Surgery. Thankfully, he just need some rest, and is currently throwing on his way to recovery. Regardless, there was skepticism about Price going into this season. Although he won 17 games, he had an ERA of 3.99 and many people considered it a disappointing year. On top of that, he did nothing to help his reputation in the postseason, giving up 5 runs in just 3.1 innings against the Indians in the ALDS. Personally, I think the acquisition of Chris Sale and the emergence of Porcello as one of the best pitcher in the league will put a lot of pressure off of Price to be THE guy. My biggest concern is his health. When he was healthy in the second half of the season he was great, with an ERA of 3.33 compared to 4.74 in the first half. I expect to build off that momentum and prove the haters wrong if he can stay healthy. And even if he never does get back to Cy Young form, he’ll still fit well in the 3rd spot in the rotation.
Rick Porcello – He’s the reigning Cy Young, so obviously the expectations, are pretty high. He looked pretty solid on opening day, giving up 3 earned runs in 6.1 innings on 6 hits and 1 walk. The one walk shows that his best in the league accuracy is still there, which was key to his brilliant season. Obviously nobody expected him to have the season he had last year. In fact, his expectations were pretty low, considering he went only 9-15. This year it’s very different, so it’ll be interesting to see how he reacts. Expecting back to back Cy Youngs is a little too much, but I’m looking for him to have a top 10, maybe even top 5 in the AL season.
Chris Sale – I was skeptical about the Sox trading Yoan Moncada for a starting pitch when there were clearly other needs for this team, but WOW did was he impressive in his debut. He gave up just 3 hits in 7 shutout innings while striking out 7 and only walking one. His stuff was on point all day and looked just as good as last season. This performance shouldn’t be too surprising since he was Cy Young candidate last year, but this was best debut performance by a Red Sox pitcher in recent memory. There has been some concern about his attitude after the jersey incident last year, especially considering the unforgiving nature of Boston. That will remain to be seen, but the talent is certainly there. I expect Sale to be one of the best #2 guys in the MLB this season.
Eduardo Rodriguez – Rodriguez had a disappointing season last year. After being labeled as the next David Price, he went just 3-7, and had trouble staying healthy. However, he did have some shining moments, including almost throwing a no-hitter. Keep in mind, he’s only 24 years old, so he has plenty of time to improve. If he can stay healthy, this could be the year he really makes his entrance to the league.
Steven Wright – Wright started off red hot last season, with an ERA of 2.45 during the first two months of the season. He ended up cooling on off big time and then had his season cut short from injury. There was a lot of talk about him moving to the bullpen, but he currently is on the starting rotation. I predict that he will eventually be moved on the whole staff is healthy and will be a solid reliever.
Drew Pomeranz – There was a lot of buzz when the Sox traded for the Pomeranz last season, but he didn’t live up to the hype, going just 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA after the trade. Even worse, he’s starting off the season on the DL. However, if he can stay healthy, I expect him to be a good fit at the end of the rotation.