Boston Red Sox 2018 Season Player Projections: Pitchers

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Chris Sale /

The Boston Red Sox enter 2018 with promise, and pitching will need to remain their strength to win the AL East.

This is the second part of my yearly Boston Red Sox player projections, click here to check out my hitter projections.

Last year, the Red Sox were able to win 93 games and the AL East, even with the worst power hitting offense in the AL. The pitching staff was the biggest reason for their success.

Chris Sale‘s dominance, along with a surprising season from Drew Pomeranz carried the Red Sox at times. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel anchored the bullpen as the most dominant closer in the American League.

This year, the Red Sox could have a much-improved pitching staff, despite making no additions. Losing Doug Fister hurts, but he can be replaced by having a healthy David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright.


POS PlayerThrows  W  L    ERA WHIP K/9    WAR
SPChris SaleL1972.750.9612.517.7
SPDavid PriceL1673.251.148.514.6
SPDrew PomeranzL1373.751.219.502.9
SPRick PorcelloR13104.251.277.493.3
SPEduardo RodriguezL774.251.249.502.1
SPSteven WrightR474.751.447.51-0.1

Sale is the favorite to win the Cy Young along with Corey Kluber this year. His ability to record 300+ strikeouts speaks for itself. The Red Sox can rely on him, but Price will need to return to his ace form for their pitching to make the shift from good, to elite.

Porcello’s Cy Young campaign in 2016 was a bit of a fluke, but it was by far more than luck. He projects to rebound in 2018, and reliable record innings. His high home run rate likely won’t change, but his walks should decline this year.

Pomeranz, Rodriguez, and Wright enter the season with health concerns, but nothing that should debilitate them. I expect Pomeranz to regress a bit, his high FIP last year suggests the ERA will increase. I need more than one dominant half of a season to believe Wright will be anything more than a swingman, but he still has a higher ceiling than most players that assume such a role.


POS Player Throws  W  L  ERA  WHIP  K/9 WAR
CLCraig KimbrelR41<2.00.82>13.02.3
SUJoe KellyR412.251.299.470.9
SUCarson SmithR112.751.119.441.0
MRMatt BarnesR143.251.279.510.7
MRRobby ScottL773.751.497.38-0.2
LRRoenis EliasR474.251.417.43-0.2
LRBrian JohnsonL114.751.376.580.3

As with any team, the projected bullpen lacks a few players that could end up contributing this year. Check out Sean Penney’s 25 man roster prediction for additional insight regarding the bullpen.

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My only concern with the bullpen is the lack of quality lefties. However, I would rather have a great right-handed pitcher face a lefty hitter late in the game than an average lefty pitcher. Splits are important, but they are not the end all be all in bullpen strategy. Kelly and Smith have the potential to form a dominant set-up combo for Craig Kimbrel.

The Red Sox will likely pursue a left-handed pitcher later in the year. I would be on the lookout for Mike Minor to be an early target. Even without a great lefty, the bullpen should be solid, but it won’t be on the level of the Yankee’s bullpen.

Next: Red Sox player projections: Hitters

As always, feel free to leave comments. Also, be sure to follow BoSox Injection for analysis and opinions throughout the season.