Red Sox 2017 Report Cards: Starting Pitcher Drew Pomeranz

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Drew Pomeranz
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Drew Pomeranz /

The Boston Red Sox enjoyed a relatively successful year as a team, but few individuals had as good a season as Drew Pomeranz.

Though the Boston Red Sox were ultimately handed an untimely playoff exit by the Houston Astros, the 2017 season featured some distinct positives. Andrew Benintendi emerged, the bullpen was mostly excellent, and the team won another American League East title. One of the brightest surprises came in the same form as one of last seasons bitterest disappointments. Drew Pomeranz got off to a rocky start to his Red Sox tenure, but his performance in 2017 more than made up for his failures from 2016.

As the 2017 season began, Pomeranz was coming off a very bad second half of the previous year. After being traded to Boston from the San Diego Padres, Pomeranz accumulated a 4.59 ERA, 24 walks allowed, and 14 home runs surrendered in just 68.2 innings pitched. That, coupled with the fact that it seemed the Red Sox had been duped into taking damaged goods from San Diego, left fans wanting to see as little of him as possible at the beginning of this season.

In Spring Training, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the top three slots in the rotation would be occupied, in some order, by Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and David Price. That left Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Pomeranz to duke it out for the final two spots. As often seems to be the case in baseball, however, things did not go according to plan.

Wright went down before the season began with a knee injury. His season was lost. Price ended up missing most of the year with injuries of his own. Rodriguez had some good moments, but struggled with inconsistency and time on the disabled list. As for Porcello, the 2017 Cy Young Award winner never recaptured his magic from a year ago, and home runs chased him from game after game.

Suddenly, Pomeranz was the team’s number two starter, and he more than answered the call. He loses some points in the grading process for his struggles in April and most of May. However, beginning with a gem on May 25, Pomeranz was simply excellent.

A return to his old fastball-first approach helped him string together an incredible run. Beginning with that May 25 outing, Pomeranz lasted at least five innings and surrendered three or fewer runs in 19 of 24 starts. It could have been 20 of 24, but back spasms forced him from his August 18 start with a goose egg still sitting in the New York Yankees line.

Overall, Pomeranz finished with a stellar 3.32 ERA, a 17-6 record, 174 strikeouts, and a 1.35 WHIP. In the MLB rankings, he finished 13th in ERA and tied for the second-most wins.

It would have been nice to see him cut down more on the walks and eat up a couple more innings per game, but that’s nitpicking. While he didn’t bring his A-game to the postseason, few members of the club did, so it’s hard to ding him for that.

Starting Pitcher. . Drew Pomeranz. A.

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Overall, Pomeranz enjoyed a stellar year, and stepped up when the Red Sox rotation might otherwise have fallen apart entirely. Without him, the Yankees would have won the division title.