As we ring in the new year, it’s time to turn our attention from the Red Sox’ phenomenal 2013 season to the upcoming 2014 season. To help you fans of BoSox Injection out there, we’ll be giving player spotlights of everyone on Boston’s projected 25-man roster and doing so in a concise fashion. Over the next 25 days, we will be running a series called “25 in 25″ and we start today with, alphabetically, the first player on the Red Sox’ roster– Burke Badenhop.
Player Profile: Burke Badenhop is a right-handed relief pitcher acquired from Milwaukee in November. He owns a career 3.98 ERA in 375.1 innings pitched, having spent time with the Marlins, Rays, and Brewers. Badenhop is primarily a sinker-baller, and is effective due to his excellent control (career 2.7 BB/9). Over the last few seasons, he has come into his own and now 31 years old is essentially a known quantity. He allows a few too many hits, but makes it up due to his lack of walks, and strikes not quite as many as would be optimal but makes it up due to his groundball tendencies.
2013 Season and Recent History: Badenhop has become somewhat of a trivia question due to the striking similarities between his 2012 and 2013 seasons. In both seasons, Badenhop pitched 62.1 innings, walked 12 batters, struck out 42 and allowed 63 and 62 hits, respectively. In 2013, he posted a 3.47 ERA in a middle relief role with the Brewers, serving his duty quite well. He does not have the power stuff to be much more than a middle reliever, but he has been effective in that limited role over the last five seasons.
2014 Outlook: Badenhop will join a deep and crowded bullpen in 2014 and will be overshadowed by arms such as Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Edward Mujica, Andrew Miller, and Craig Breslow. Due to the abundance of top notch arms in the Red Sox bullpen, Badenhop will not be pushed into unfamiliar territory and will continue to serve in his familiar middle relief role. He could deal with some initial struggles moving from the NL Central to the AL East, but he did post a career best 3.03 ERA with the Rays in 2012, showing that he ought to be able to handle the pressure. Overall, Badenhop is not a sexy player to kick off the “25 in 25″ series with, but he should be a consistent and reliable relief arm in 2014.