David Price – 18 Wins
Sean: Over – Not by much, but he could make a run at a 20-win season. Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel was the only AL pitcher to win 20 last year, so it’s a lofty goal. With run support from one of the top lineups in the game and a deep bullpen that may be the strongest Price has ever had behind him, everything is in place for the new Red Sox ace to top 18 wins for the third time in his career and first time since 2012.
Jorge: Under – Even though he’s been an excellent pitcher at Fenway, it’s his first year on the Red Sox and a new team always changes the player.
Drew: Push – Neither over or under. That is a lot of wins in this day and age and I think 18 will be as high as he goes.
Rick – Over – you pay for those wins.
David Price – 220 strikeouts
Sean: Over – The Red Sox brought in Price to anchor their rotation because they needed a pitcher that can go deep into games. Even with a revamped bullpen to rely on, they still need their No. 1 starter to be a workhorse because the staff behind him can’t be counted on to pile up innings. Price has a career 8.6 K/9 rate and struck out over 9 batters per nine innings last season. If his innings are once again over 220 then expect his strikeouts to be in that same range.
Drew: Under – That isn’t to say he won’t be effective but he is nothing if not smart about how many pitches he has to throw. If he knows he has a strong defense behind him, especially in the outfield, he will let the batters hit the ball with the confidence that his fielders will go get it. He has only had 220 strikeouts twice in his career so that number is far from a lock and why the under is my prediction.
Rick: Over – Only thing that could cost him is a strong bullpen.
Clay Buchholz – 140 Innings Pitched
Sean: Over – Buchholz has failed to even reach 120 innings in two of the last three seasons, but you have to enter the season expecting our No. 2 starter to give you more than that. He’ll never be a 200+ inning workhorse, but 25 starts and 180 innings seems reasonable.
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Jorge: Under – He has never pitched 200 innings and if he’s healthy and “decent” at the deadline, I’m sure he’ll be traded. Maybe he can finish 2016 pitching more than 140 innings, but half of those won’t be with the Red Sox.
Drew: Over – For some reason, the even years are ones in which the injury prone occasional ace is able to stay mostly healthy and pitch over 170 innings. He is in another contract year with the Red Sox not obligated to pick up his option again. As much as anything, he appears focused on health this Spring. He doesn’t have the pressure of being the ace, so I predict he will go out and have at least a solid year of 190 plus innings.
Rick: Over – What he does in those innings is another story.
Rick Porcello – 4.50 ERA
Sean: Under – Porcello showed drastic improvement following his return from the disabled list late in the season and will look to carry that momentum into this season. He’s never going to live up to that ridiculous contract that pays him like an ace, but the Red Sox can live with it if he settles into a role as a middle of the rotation starter. Expect an ERA closer to 4.00 rather than one that borders on 5.00.
Jorge: Under – I think that the injury that placed him on the DL last season was the main reason for his failure during the first half of the season. Towards the end of the season, he pitched decently enough to show that he can be a solid number 2 or 3 and with David Price being the ace and having him as a mentor (again), he can only improve.
Drew: Under – He had a 3.53 ERA in the second half last year. It isn’t as good as what someone making the kind of money he makes should be doing but it was an improvement on his 5.90 first half mark. As with Buchholz, there will be less pressure on him to be like the number 1 his salary might reflect, so he will be more comfortable. ERA in the low 4’s, 4.25 or under.
Rick: Under – You will see the 2014 version of Porcello.
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