Red Sox must prepare for Rays pitcher Shane Baz
Shane Baz made his major league debut for the Rays last season, posting a 2.03 ERA in 13 1/3 innings. While he only made three starts, that was enough to convince Tampa Bay he was ready to start in Game 2 of the ALDS.
The Red Sox knocked Baz out of his lone postseason start before he could make it out of the third inning. That brief sample that went in Boston’s favor doesn’t necessarily foreshadow future success against the right-hander though.
Baz dominated the minor leagues last year, producing a 2.06 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.9 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 17 starts split between Double-A and Triple-A.
His fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s but he can dial it up to triple digits. His wipeout slider gives him another plus pitch to work with and he’s shown improvement with a curve that should become an above-average weapon.
While he had some control issues early in his professional career, Baz displayed impressive command last year while becoming an elite strikeout pitcher. He showed flashes of that potential during his brief time in the big leagues and if he can maintain anything close to those strikeout and walk rates at this level, Baz will be a future front of the rotation starter. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him emerge as the ace of the Rays staff this year.
Assuming he begins the year in Tampa Bay’s rotation, the Red Sox could see him in the opening series of the season.