Who gets the No. 5 spot in the rotation – Joe Kelly, Henry Owens or someone else?
Max: Kelly. The Red Sox have to decide once and for all if he is a starter or reliever and they are not going to do that with him down in Triple-A. Plus, they will at least want to see if he can carry over the way he finished last season, when he went 8-0 with a 3.00 era in 51 innings over his final 9 starts. Owens showed late last season how much he has left to work on, but he will likely be the sixth man for the rotation.
Jorge: After his strong push at the end of last season, Kelly deserves the benefit of the doubt, at least on a short leash. Owens could also benefit from more seasoning in Triple-A, and if and when Kelly goes down, he can step in.
Drew: Kelly steps up here to take that starting spot building on last year’s second half.
Samantha: Kelley gets the No. 5 spot because of the success he found in the second half of the 2015 season. If he shows the same consistency this spring, then Kelley deserves that spot.
Brandon: Kelly will get the spot before Owens, based on the second half of last season. The Red Sox must find out if Kelly’s 8-0 was a flash in the pan or the sign of possible greatness. Owens is even younger and needs time to develop, compared to Kelly, so the Red Sox won’t feel like they’re missing out too much. Owens could find himself in the pen if Kelly gets hot again. By the All-Star Break, depending on their individual performances, Owens could be trade bait if Boston is heading in the right direction or kept as insurance for the dog days of summer.
Sean: Looks like we are all in agreement that it will be Kelly at the back end of the rotation, at least to start the season. If for no other reason than to see if he can build off of last year’s strong finish or if his performance down the stretch was all smoke and mirrors. Owens has more upside in the long term, but could use more time in Pawtucket to work on his consistency. We’ll likely see him in Boston at some point, whether it be as an injury replacement or if Kelly reverts to what we saw in the first half of last season. You can never have too much pitching depth and the Red Sox are blessed with a deep stable of options. Owens should be the next man up if the Red Sox need another starter, but Wright could be called upon if he makes the roster as a long reliever to avoid making a roster move. Also, don’t count out Brian Johnson barging into the picture if he can recapture his pre-injury form.