Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
The 22-year old showed flashes of brilliance in his impressive rookie season, posting a 3.85 ERA over 21 starts. He has the tools to develop into a top of the rotation starter someday, but he’s not there yet. For now we’ll slot him into the third spot in the rotation, while acknowledging the possibility that he will exceed the expectations of that role.
Rodriguez’s debut season was highlighted by his bizarre day/night splits. He was 10-2 with a 1.87 ERA that was the best in the league among starters in night games, but posted a brutal 7.88 ERA during the day. Perhaps he wasn’t prepared for the earlier start times, which is an adjustment he’ll make with more experience. It’s also possible that his pitches were easier for opposing hitters to pick up during the daytime, particularly considering there were times when the Red Sox believe he may have been tipping his pitches. It’s also important to note that not all of his day starts were a disaster, so a few poor outings could heavily influence those numbers since he only made 8 day starts.
Whatever the reason for the massive gap in those splits, the learning experience should only help make Rodriguez a better pitcher going forward. As long as he’s figured out his daytime issues then he should be able to more consistently pitch the way he did during those 13 night starts.
If Rodriguez even approaches those sensational numbers over a full season, we may have a future co-ace on our hands. That may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but we can at least count on E-Rod as a lock for the rotation.
Next: Rick Porcello