Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pomeranz Could be Difference-Maker for Red Sox This Year

The Red Sox potentially gave up a future ace in Anderson Espinoza -- their No. 3 prospect -- but the 18-year-old is probably still four years away from the majors. Meanwhile, Boston is built to win now and is therefore playing for this year.

With that in mind, I like the acquisition of Drew Pomeranz, the No. 5 overall pick by the Indians in the 2010 Draft.

The lefty has a 2.47 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 102 innings this year. That's a strikeout rate of 10.1 per nine innings.

However, Pomeranz's innings mark is a major league career-high, calling into question his endurance in the second half.

For what it's worth, Pomeranz is huge: 6'6" and 240 pounds. Some think size makes a pitcher more durable, but all pitchers take incremental steps each year in increasing their innings threshold.

The Sox were seeking controllable pitching and they got that in Pomeranz, who won't become a free agent until after the 2018 season.

At the start of his career, Pomeranz struggled over 34 games from 2011-2013 with Colorado, posting a cumulative 5.52 ERA.

But after being traded to Oakland, he started to deliver on the promise of his No. 5 pick status, posting a 2.35 ERA over 20 games (10 starts) in 2014 and a 3.66 ERA over 53 games (9 starts) in 2015.

Then he became an All Star this season with San Diego.

Pomeranz is young, controllable and cheap -- all attributes the Red Sox had to receive in order to give up a prospect of Espinoza's status.

There have been early comparisons of Espinoza to Pedro Martinez, which are both unfair and ridiculous.

The Red Sox could come to rue the day they traded the future ace, or he could wind up as a marginal big league talent (perhaps a relief pitcher) as so many prized prospects do. Who knows?

As I always say, prospects are a gamble -- a roll of the dice.

For this season, Pomeranz could be a real difference maker for a Red Sox team that is built for the post-season, and maybe even more. That all means playing October baseball.

In order to do his part to make that happen, Pomeranz will need to reach at least 200 innings, and that is not a certainty by any means.

That is, perhaps, the Red Sox biggest gamble in this deal.

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