Well, the Red Sox officially began their spring training and their quest for another World Series Championship. Spring is in sight, anxiety is kicking in, and the skeptics are starting to come out. So, that means one thing, baseball is almost here!
This is the Red Sox first spring training without David Ortiz in 14 years. There’s a little bit of a different feel coming into the 2017 season. There’s a feeling of youth and emphasis on pitching. While Ortiz will certainly be missed, there’s a lot to be excited about for this team, especially with the starting pitching.
Chris Sale, who has a career 3.00 ERA, ERA+ of 135, and a WHIP of 1.065, is now joining the likes of Cy Young Award Winner Rick Porcello, and the 2012 winner David Price (a bounce back year is due). All three together, arguably form one of the top trios in baseball.
Then just to throw in the other three starting pitchers that could make for a pretty solid back end are Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez. One of the three will be the odd man out, but it’s never a bad thing when you have three quality guys fighting for the last two spots. However, the big question that is hovering over the team’s pitching…is there enough depth.
Pomeranz last year encountered forearm soreness that caused him to get a stem cell shot in October. However, he has claimed he is healthy now, but forearm issues have often shown to lead to elbow injuries. Then you have Wright coming back from his shoulder injury, with the usual uncertainties of a knuckleballer. And, of course, Rodriguez and his knee issues.
Last year, ten different pitchers got the start for the Red Sox, so questions of depth with six known starters, potential injuries aside, start to come into thought.
The first depth starter is Roenis Elias. With the Red Sox last year he went 0-1, with a 12.91 ERA in 7.2 IP, a WHIP of 2.609, and 17.6 H/9. However, with Seattle in 49 starts, he did have a 3.97 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. With a successful winter ball going 2-3 with a 2.47 ERA and having a WHIP of 1.31 in 10 appearances, 9 of them starts. The question now is, can Elias replicate what he did with Seattle? If he could, there is not much more you could ask out of the spot starter.
Then there is Henry Owens, who at this point in his 2-year career, possesses a 5.19 ERA in 85 IP (16 starts), a WHIP of 1.518. However, the 24 year old, 2011 first-round pick, at this point of his career has plenty of time to turn it around and become who the Red Sox thought they originally drafted. However, there is still lots to prove.
Then there is 2012 Red Sox first rounder, Brian Johnson. He has just one Major League Appearance for the Red Sox, has had elbow problems, and spent a couple months on the temporary inactive list for anxiety. He has had success in the minors and what he is capable of is known, at this point. It’s really about where his confidence is.
There is a lot to be excited for in terms of the Red Sox 2017 rotation, however having depth in your starting pitching often plays a huge role down the road, during the grueling 162 game season, and there are definitely some questions there. Only time will tell how our depth starters pan out.