Five Red Sox question marks for the 2018 season
By Rick McNair
Always best to start with a positive and that is Steven Wright who missed almost the entire 2017 season after extensive knee surgery. Wright in 2016 was an All-Star and may have been in line to win close to 20 games. The right-handed knuckleball pitcher was just coming into his own at the tender baseball age of 31-years-old.
Wright and that daffy pitch as some call it – usually frustrated batters and catchers – is delivered 87% of the time by Wright, but unlike former Red Sox K-Ball specialist – Tim Wakefield – Wright has other options. Wright can get some respectable speed on his fastball by occasionally touching the high 80s. Wright also will show a curve about 4% of the time to keep hitters guessing or to freeze them.
For the ill-fated Wright, the first injury was a shoulder when Manager John Farrell confused Wright with Usain Bolt and inserted him as a pinch runner. In best Red Sox tradition if there is a way something can go wrong it did. When the 2017 season burst upon us Wright was forgettable and that was directly connected to his knee. With the spat of pitching, question marks a recovery to 2016 form by Wright is crucial.
PREDICTION: Wright will come back, and I will also say as a starter and not a pitching hybrid used for long relief, spot starting and occasionally even closing. There is too much drama in the rotation and Wright will get 30 starts and help solidify the tender starting five.