We most likely won’t see a full season this year, and this could be a benefit to Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi who is coming off of an injury-plagued 2019.
Hello again, my friends! We’re back with part two of our look at who may benefit the most from a shortened 2020 season. In this chapter, I offered up a poll shining the light on which of the Red Sox pitchers can thrive with fewer games this upcoming season.
I didn’t just focus on one aspect of the pitching game either, I wanted to give Red Sox Nation a chance to weigh in on some starters as well as relievers. In the poll, people had the chance to vote for Nathan Eovaldi, Ryan Weber, Matt Barnes, or Martin Perez. Similar to when I asked about Boston’s hitters, each of the four pitchers has a different mission for 2020.
Eovaldi is coming off of an injury-plagued 2019 and needs to start earning his 4yr/$68M contract. Weber has a chance to join the starting rotation and lock up a job for future seasons. Barnes showed he can be a go-to reliever but broke down once the innings tallied up. Finally, Perez is on a one-year deal and has a small window to prove that he can still be a viable starter.
With all that said, and with all of the votes tallied, Red Sox Nation voted in a landslide for Nasty Nate as the one that would benefit the most if 2020 is a far shorter season. I can’t disagree with the fans by any means as I was right on the same page with them. Where I differed in my opinion on which hitter would benefit the most, I can’t see anyone but Eovaldi getting the most out of tossing fewer games.
We all know about Eovaldi’s history with injuries and it’s probably why most of us voted for him. His pair of Tommy John surgeries, as well as a pair of maintenance procedures to keep his right elbow functioning, is common knowledge among baseball fans.
The righty missed most of 2019 and when he did pitch it wasn’t pretty. Especially after what he did for the Red Sox after joining the time at the trade deadline in 2018. Let’s compare his time with Boston in 2018 to his 2019 campaign and what he posted during spring training.
Obviously it’s tough to use just the numbers from spring training to determine where Nasty Nate would be in 2020 but the eyes don’t lie. Yeah, it’s great to see the numbers look more electric and similar to what we saw from the righty in 2018, but it’s still early. In my opinion, his body language spoke far louder than any numbers on a gun ever could.
His fastball had zip on it and his breaking balls had some nice movement and he had the batters guessing. Add in the fact that he had his leg kick going, which if you follow Eovaldi, you know that’s his tell when things are feeling good. When his elbow is healthy and he has confidence in his pitches, that leg is whipping after he releases the ball.
The Red Sox are in dire need of pitching help as their rotation is on life support after this winter. Veteran lefty David Price being shipped off to Los Angeles, and Chris Sale undergoing Tommy John on his left elbow. This leaves Boston with two massive holes in their rotation and not many arms that can fill them.
Ron Roenicke will be relying heavily on the right arm of Eovaldi as the starter is now thrust into the number two slot in the rotation behind Eduardo Rodriguez. It’s still unknown how much baseball will be seen in 2020 or if there will be any at all. If there is a season it’ll surely be much shorter than the usual 162 games, leaving teams less time to stake their claim to the Commissioner’s Trophy.
A benefit of the shorter season is obvious, it’s fewer games that can cause injury. If Boston only needs to trot Nate out there for 12-15 starts as opposed to 25-30, then the chances of his elbow giving out again drastically decrease. That means he’ll still be available if the Red Sox are able to make a postseason run, which he’ll greatly be needed for.
I’m not sure what the future holds for the Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi, or even baseball for that matter. I do know that a guy with the injury history of Eovaldi can only benefit from a shortened season with less wear on his arm. If Boston wants to find any sort of success in 2020, they’ll need to keep him as healthy as possible, and tossing fewer games may be the best way to achieve that.