While there have been a lot of words written over the winter about Boston’s present pitching situation, there is a budding crop of acquisitions and a particular prospect, some of whom may comprise the future core of Boston’s rotation.
In 2011 Matt Barnes was drafted 19th overall by the Red Sox after three years at UConn where he had a nifty 1.93 ERA and an 11-5 record in 17 starts as a junior in 2011. As a Huskie, he struck out nearly a batter per inning and allowed only 79 hits in 121 innings in his final year.
His plus stuff makes him too advanced for A level ball. In 2012 Barnes was assigned to single A Greenville and was quickly promoted to double A Salem after posting an 0.34 ERA in five starts. Once in the Carolina league with Salem, he posted a 1.50 ERA in two starts while striking out 20 and walking just one in 12 innings.
Although he still has plenty of work ahead of him, especially his change up and maintaining velocity in the stretch, Barnes is projected as a possible late-2013 arrival in Boston and an eventual mid-rotation or possible number two starter.
Plucked by the Dodgers in 2008 out of high school, Webster, along with Rubby DeLarosa, was part of Boston’s blockbuster deal with the Dodgers last year and is projected as a possible number three starter.
He was impressive at the Dodgers complex league affiliate in 2009 and again impressed once promoted to rookie level Ogden later that same year. Webster finished the season with a 12-9 record and 2.88 ERA with Great Lakes in 2010. Batters couldn’t figured him out. He allowed less than a hit per inning and nearly a strikeout per inning. After a promotion to Chattanooga in 2011 he struggled, posting a 5.04 ERA in 91 innings.
Webster sports a mid-90s heavy sinking fastball, a sharp-breaking curveball, a slider and – his best pitch – a killer change up. If he learns to command both sides of the plate, Webster could make an appearance sometime in 2013, especially if injury or lack of performance strikes the starting rotation.
Rubby De La Rosa
Currently the least sure thing the Sox have, DeLarosa – like Webster – packs a mid-90s fastball in his arsenal.
According to the most recent scouting report, De La Rosa has some mechanical issues to correct, which gives him iffy command at times. He has trouble keeping his arm slot and will need to refine his delivery in order to overcome his command inconsistency.
He has a good mid-80s change up and can make batters miss or hit weakly with the fastball/change up split. He is working on a slider, which has been scouted as just average.
De La Rosa will need to work to become more consistent with his slider while refining his fastball Command of these pitches will be key to reaching his potential as a starter. Without improvement, De La Rosa may be destined for late inning relief. He had Tommy John surgery in August 2011 so 2013 will be a pivotal year for him.