Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi
Nathan Eovaldi was put in an impossible position, asked to anchor the staff as the ace he was never intended to be. That’s what happens when your top two starting pitchers spend the season on the injured list while two other starters departed via trade and free agency, leaving Eovaldi as the last man standing. The Red Sox had no interest in spending much money to plug those holes in the rotation so when Eduardo Rodriguez was unexpectedly sidelined with a heart condition, Eovaldi was thrust into the Opening Day spot.
All things considered, Eovaldi held up relatively well. He’s clearly not No. 1 starter material but when viewed through the lens of what the Red Sox signed him to be, the right-hander didn’t disappoint.
Eovaldi led the staff with four wins while posting a 3.72 ERA that stands as his best since 2013. He also posted the best strikeout (9.7 K/9) and walk (1.3 BB/9) rates of his career. Eovaldi’s 7.43 K/BB ratio would have ranked fifth in the majors if he had enough innings to qualify.
A calf injury limited Eovaldi to nine starts but he looked sharp when he returned in September, allowing only one earned run in 14 innings over his final three starts.
Eovaldi isn’t a true workhorse ace who should be leading the rotation but hopefully next year he won’t need to be. If he can pitch at this level as the team’s No. 3 or 4 starter then the Red Sox will gladly accept that from him.