Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Can David Price Single-Handedly Turn Around Red Sox Rotation?

The ‪‎Red Sox‬ starting rotation this season is projected to be David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Joe Kelly.

It's important to remember that three of those pitchers were ineffective, injured, or both last season: Porcello, Buchholz, and Kelly.

2015 Statistics:

David Price
220.1 innings, 18-5, 2.45 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 225 K, 47 BB

Clay Buchholz
113.1 innings, 7-7, 3.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 107 K, 23 BB

Rick Porcello
172 innings, 9-15, 4.92 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 149 K, 38 BB

Eduardo Rodriguez
121.2 innings, 10-6, 3.85 ERA,1.29 WHIP, 98 K, 37 BB

Joe Kelly
134.1 innings, 10-6, 4.82 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 110 K, 49 BB

No pitcher threw 200 innings for the Red Sox last season. No one struck out as many as 200 batters. No pitcher averaged one strikeout per inning.

Of the 30 MLB teams, Red Sox’ starters were 24th in ERA (4.39), 20th in WHIP (1.33), sixth in hits allowed (975), and sixth in earned runs (462).

Four-fifths of last year’s starting rotation is returning this season.

It’s enough to make one wish that David Price could pitch three times a week.

The Red Sox made a big splash in acquiring Price, shelling out $217 million on a seven-year deal.

But the Red Sox had problems all over the rotation last season; it wasn't just one guy. In essence, they’ve replaced Wade Miley with Price.

Each of the other four starters comes with a litany of questions.

Buchholz is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. It is impossible to predict how many innings he will pitch, or how effective he will be. The most likely thing is that he will at some point end up on the DL again, as he has seven times in his nine seasons. He’s never pitched 200 innings, and it’s reasonable to bet against it again in 2016.

Porcello led the Red Sox last season with 15 losses and a near-5 ERA. Yes, he is a bounce back candidate, but he was never as good as the contract the Red Sox gave him. If he posts a 4.00 ERA this year, it would mark a significant improvement, yet still not be all that impressive. After all, this is a guy with a career 4.39 ERA. Porcello has also reached 200 innings just once in seven seasons.

Rodriguez threw a career-high of 170 total innings between the minors and majors in 2015. It’s not reasonable to expect him to throw 200 this year; it’s too big a leap.

Then there’s Kelly, who threw a career high 134.1 innings last season and who had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2-1, which was awful. Kelly was so bad last year that he was demoted to Triple-A at the age of 27.

Feeling hopeful yet?

The truth is, it’s tough to be optimistic about this group. If these guys are just their usual selves, this rotation will be ineffective to uncompetitive, despite the expensive and flashy addition of Price.

Every one of them will need to remain healthy all season long, and pitch to the absolute height of his abilities, for the Red Sox to be playoff team this year.

That’s an awful lot to expect, and it may be quite unrealistic.

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