It is clear that the most important pitcher on the team is the newly acquired ace, David Price. But after him, who gets the ball?
The Boston Red Sox have had success over the past 12 years thanks to their pitching staff. Whenever we talk about one of the most recent World Series championships, the team was lead by an ace. In 2004, we had Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, 2007 was led by Josh Beckett and in 2013 Jon Lester had one of the best seasons of his career.
However, we tend to overlook that the team’s success has also been due to other pitchers stepping up when push comes to shove. With names like Tim Wakefield and John Lackey, the Red Sox have been lucky with number two pitchers coming through in the clutch.
After not having an ace since Lester was traded, the Red Sox finally found a proven ace in David Price. The rotation in 2015 was a disaster, but towards the end of the season a few pitchers began to show signs of hope for 2016.
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Joe Kelly won 9 games in a row and Rick Porcello posted a 3.14 ERA in his last 8 games, but the season was already lost. Clay Buchholz led the team in ERA with a 3.26 record but got injured in July. As usual. Rookies Eduardo Rodriguez and Henry Owens showed signs of talent, but they’re too young to trust them in 2016.
So now, who is the most reliable candidate to bring success to the Red Sox after Price? Porcello.
If we take a look at all the options the Red Sox have, Porcello is the only one with proven success in the past. Buchholz is one of the best pitchers in the American League when he is healthy, but he hasn’t had a full healthy season in his career. Kelly is still an enigma for the team, and the rookies can’t be fully trusted with only a season under their belt.
After signing an $82.5 million extension last April, Porcello had the worst season of his career in his first year with the Red Sox. He tied his career-high in ERA but also had a new career-high strikeout rate wit 7.8/9. Reuniting him with ex-teammate and the new ace, Price will also benefit him.
Porcello no longer has the pressure of being the highest paid pitcher in the team and the expectations of him being the ace are gone. He won at least 10 games in his first six seasons at the Major League level. He never made the Tigers’ rotation in the postseason, but pitchers like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander were always in front of him.
After Price, the 27-year old RHP has the highest ceiling on the team. He can’t be worse than he was a year ago, and that’s exactly what the Red Sox need.