Ranking MLB’s Starting Rotations: 30-26

26. Boston Red Sox

  • 1)RHP Clay Buchholz, 30 years old: 8-11, 5.34 ERA, 170.1 IP, 182 H, 101 ER, 17 HR, 54 BB, 132 K, 1.39 WHIP, 7.0 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 4.01 xFIP, 2.2 WAR, 1.36 GB/FB, .315BABIP
    • 46.6 percent ground balls, 2,741 pitches, 1,739 strikes, 8.5 swinging strikes
    • 91.6 MPH FB (44.9), 87.8 MPH CUT (24.7), 77.4 MPH CRV (16.1), 81.7 MPH CH (11.4), 85.6 MPH SPL (2.8)
    • 2015 is a big year for Clay. Plagued with injuries and inconsistency in the past, 2015 is potentially Buchholz’ last season in Boston. His contract runs through 2017 if the team decides to pick up his option, but that would seem up in the air. He’s extremely sporadic in his performance. If he has a big year, his option could get picked up, or he could get a big payday in free agency. If not, we’ve probably seen the last ofBuchholz’ days as a top-of-the-staff pitcher.
      • 2008: 2-9, 6.75 ERA
      • 2010: 17-7, 2.33
      • 2011: 6-3, 3.48 in only 14 games
      • 2012: 11-8, 4.56
      • 2013: 12-1, 1.74
      • 2014: 8-11, 5.34
  • 2)RHP Rick Porcello, 25 years old: 15-13, 3.43 ERA, 204.2 IP, 211 H, 78 ER, 18 HR, 41 BB, 129 K, 1.23 WHIP, 5.7 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 3.68 xFIP, 3.1 WAR, 1.69 GB/FB, .298BABIP
    • 49.0 percent ground balls, 3,055 pitches, 2,029 strikes, 7.4 swinging strikes
    • 90.4 MPH FB (58.7), 77.2 MPH CRV (15.6), 81.2 MPH CH (13.6), 85.3 MPH SL (12.2)
    • Brought up as a highly-touted prospect in the Tigers system in 2009, he’s been steady since, if nothing else. He has made no trips to the DL, and has gone 61-50 with a 4.51 mark behind the likes of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, and recently, David Price. Since the beginning of the offseason, the Red Sox have been dangling slugger Yoenis Cespedes, and eventually found a taker in Detroit, who coughed up Porcello, which filled a desperate need for Boston – pitching. From 2010-13, Porcello was relatively disappointing, posting ERA’s ranging from 4.32-4.75, but he rebounded last season, and could end up being an ace if Buchholz is let go.
  • 3)LHP Wade Miley, 28 years old: 8-12, 4.34 ERA, 201.1 IP, 207 H, 97 ER, 23 HR, 75 BB, 183 K, 1.40 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 3.50 xFIP, 1.7 WAR, 1.82 GB/FB, .317BABIP
    • 51.1 percent ground balls, 3,217 pitches, 2,032 strikes, 9.7 swinging strikes
    • 91.2 MPH FB (61.2), 85.4 MPH SL (25.8), 82.6 MPH CH (11.2), 77.6 MPH CRV (1.8)
    • In 2012 and 2013, Miley looked extremely bright, with a 26-21 record for Arizona, a 3.44 ERA, and 2.83 strikeouts per walk. 2014 was a down season for Miley, and he’s probably eager for the change of scenery from Arizona to Boston, who are offseason winners, of sorts, having picked up Porcello, Justin Masterson, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval. As the third in the rotation, he’s in a good spot behind Buchholz and Porcello. There’s no true ace in the staff, but rather a staff full of three-four types.
  • 4)RHP Justin Masterson, 29 years old: 7-9, 5.88 ERA, 128.2 IP, 141 H, 84 ER, 12 HR, 69 BB, 116 K, 1.63 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, 4.08 xFIP, 0.3 WAR, 2.70 GB/FB, .339BABIP
    • 58.2 percent ground balls, 2,249 pitches, 1,364 strikes, 9.1 swinging strikes
    • 88.9 MPH FB (81.8), 80.7 MPH SL (18.1), 73.0 MPH CH (0.1)
    • Masterson, a former Red Sox farm hand, seemed like a rational Red Sox signing after Lester turned down a Boston reunion to go to Chicago. He was signed to a one-year, $9.5M contract. In 2009, at the end of Masterson’s first run in Boston, he was traded to Cleveland in a package for slugger Victor Martinez. In Cleveland, Masterson has been the veteran in a mostly young staff that has developed, and enjoyed sporadic success near the top of the staff. Through 19 starts with Cleveland in 2014, he was struggling, with a 4-6 record and 5.51 mark, and was traded to St. Louis for a minorleaguer, where he went 3-3 with a 7.04. The Red Sox hope he can be 2013 Masterson (14-10, 3.45). Masterson, much likeBuchholz, is unpredictable.
      • 2010: 6-13, 4.70
      • 2011: 12-10, 3.21
      • 2012: 11-15, 4.93
      • 2013: 14-10, 3.45
      • 2014: 7-9, 5.88
  • 5)RHP Joe Kelly, 26 years old: 6-4, 4.20 ERA, 96.1 IP, 88 H, 45 ER, 8 HR, 42 BB, 66 K, 1.35 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 4.19 xFIP, 0.6 WAR, 2.31 GB/FB, .274BABIP
    • 54.9 percent ground balls, 1,580 pitches, 950 strikes, 7.0 swinging strikes
    • 94.7 MPH FB (65.7), 79.1 MPH CRV (17.4), 83.9 MPH CH (11.3), 86.4 MPH SL (5.6)
    • Kelly, I think, could very well be the wild card to Boston’s 2014 success. If Masterson, Buchholz, or Miley struggle with inconsistency or interleague adjustment (all very conceivable possibilities), Kelly could be a crucial part of Boston’s success as the fifth starter. Traded from St. Louis to Boston in a mid-season 2014 trade that sent John Lackey to St. Louis, he is 21-16 with a 3.41 mark in his career, and is going into next year a full-time starter. In St. Louis, he’s been overshadowed by the Adam Wainwrights of the world, and that Cardinal staff also included Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, and Jamie Garcia. That, at times, made Kelly the odd man out. He’s not facing that problem in Boston. I would consider him their breakout candidate.
  • Other possible contributors:
    • RHP Brandon Workman, 26 years old: 1-10, 5.17 ERA, 87 IP (7-1, 4.11 ERA, 61.1 IP in AAA)
      • Forced into play because of a mid-season firesale, should be a reliever moving forward.
      • 90 MPH FB, 76 MPH CRV, 86 MPH CUT, 84 MPH CH
    • RHP Anthony Ranaudo, 25 years old: 4-3, 4.81 ERA, 39.1 IP (14-4, 2.61 ERA, 138 IP in AAA)
      • Like Workman, forced into the rotation late in the season, but didn’t fare quite as badly as Workman did.
      • 92 MPH FB, 78 MPH CRV, 83 MPH CH, 83 MPH SL
    • LHP Henry Owens, 22 years old: 17-5, 2.94 ERA, 159 IP between AA/AAA
      • Red Sox top prospect, he has middle of the staff potential; ranked as the 69th prospect before the 2014 season.
      • 90 MPH FB, 77 MPH CH, 75 MPH CRV
    • RHP Matt Barnes, 24 years old: 0-0, 4.00 ERA, 9 IP (8-9, 3.95 ERA, 127.2 IP in AAA)
      • Also ranked in the preseason top 100, got some experience last year out of the ‘pen, where he figures to see more action this year.
      • 94 MPH FB, 81 MPH CH, 85 MPH CRV

 

Look for part two with the 21st-25th best rotations shortly.

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