Garrett Whitlock has earned a spot in the Red Sox starting rotation
The 25-year-old rookie was poetically snagged from the New York Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft and became a bullpen sensation for the Red Sox in their dark horse campaign to the ALCS.
Whitlock delivered masterfully—posting a 1.96 ERA in 73.1 innings pitched. At the start of his success, it was uncertain just what the Red Sox really had in him. But as the season continued, Whitlock perhaps became the most steady relief pitcher in the Red Sox arsenal.
He showcased both a repertoire of pitches and consistently impressive speed. This above-average velocity was potent in several pitches, most notably his four-seam fastball and sinker, which became his go-to punch out choices. It is no secret that establishing such intangibles are a rarity for a rookie pitching prospect.
It’s safe to say that Whitlock was the Red Sox most reliable reliever in 2021 as he proved impressive durability. Not only was he tested in a myriad of situations with runners on base, but he pitched more than a single inning in most of his appearances throughout his first major league season.
The narrative of Whitlock’s prowess is especially unique considering his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2019. He’s brought poise and composure to the mound and has built chemistry with Christian Vazquez behind the mound.
With some vacancies in the Red Sox pitching rotation, slotting Whitlock in for his sophomore season could be beneficial. The Red Sox must utilize the talent they already have before considering further offseason additions. This is an opportunity to solidify a starting pitching talent in the rotation for the future as the team begins a new era of contention.
This switch into the rotation would also be a move that fits hand-in-glove into Chaim Bloom’s construction philosophy. Bloom has established himself as a cost-efficient GM that marries in-house talent with low-risk acquisitions. Whitlock becoming a starter could prove savvy in pursuing other relief options without having to splurge on an established starter.
The results of starting a Whitlock over a Rich Hill could prove to be more electrifying. The back of the rotation is currently mostly a mix of veteran options that are beyond their peak numbers.
Installing Whitlock is the low-risk, high reward move that could regain them one of the most challenging 1-5 rotations in baseball.