Red Sox History: Developing young pitchers will take patience

BOSTON, MA - JULY 6: Brayan Bello #66 of the Boston Red Sox takes a moment to himself in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on July 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 6: Brayan Bello #66 of the Boston Red Sox takes a moment to himself in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on July 6, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

Patience can be painful with young Red Sox arms

The Boston Red Sox are in desperate times regarding pitching, especially the rotation. Michael Wacha, Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, Chris Sale, and Garrett Whitlock were or should be part of the rotation. The time missed is staggering, but with injuries comes opportunity.

The Red Sox have promoted several pitchers who are prospects, but it is primarily desperation of any port in a storm. The expected results have wavered between encouraging to don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Top prospect Brayan Bello had a rude introduction to “The Show” courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays. Josh Winckowski has been a pleasant surprise except for the Yankees lineup. Like Winckowski, a fellow pitcher brought in via trade, Connor Seabold has been a pitching pinata. Kutter Crawford performed admirably against the Yankees.

Growing pains are evident as it is rare that the pitcher leaps to MLB and is lights out from the first pitch through the rest of their career. This takes time with skills learned and adapted to the highest level. Naturally, the general response is one of frustration for the fans. So let’s look at patience and the past.

Roger Clemens is the Red Sox all-time leader in wins with 192. Clemens rushed through the Red Sox farm system and arrived with the big club in a year of minor league tutelage. In his first season he went 9-4 with a 4.32 ERA. His second season was injury-riddled, and the Rocket went 7-5. After that, it was a monstrous success.

Lefty Bruce Hurst was a personal favorite of mine, but his first three seasons in Boston produced a 7-9 record, and his starts were notably inconsistent. You could see the ability and hope that somehow the puzzle would be put together. In the next seven seasons, Hurst won 81 games and became an All-Star before signing a free-agent contract with the Padres.

Lefty Mel Parnell was brought up to the Red Sox in 1947 and did little that was noteworthy. Hurling in relief and making five starts, Parnell went 2-3 with a 6.39 ERA. In the next six seasons, Parnell won 109 games for Boston.

Clay Buchholz was a first-round pick for Boston (2005), and the righty was impressive in 2007, going 3-1 with a no-hitter. Good things were expected in 2008, but he suffered injuries and poor performances over the next two seasons. It took until the 2010 season to make him an All-Star.

Jon Lester came to Boston as a 22-year-old and, for two seasons, shuffled between Boston and Pawtucket (AAA) before refining his skill and winning 16 games in 2008. Lester overcame cancer and walks to become one of his era’s most durable and successful starters.

Right-hander Bob Stanley made the club in 1977, and his sinker was on display, going 8-7 with a 3.99 ERA. Steamer’s earned run average slowly went down as the season moved forward, but there were some games where a Stanley start of relief appearance made you cringe. Stanley finished his Boston career with 115 wins.

The list can be extensive for young pitchers who had a less than promising start. Joe Wood, Tex Hughson, and Bill Monbouquette can be tossed into the collective. Likewise, there is Billy Rohr’s who can have that one great game and never find the magic again.

The current collection of minor league prospects on display will be like driving over a rocky road in a car with no shock absorbers. The real issue will be the learning curve, as shown by the others in the past mentioned, and their eventual positive contribution.

Next. Red Sox Prospect Watch: Debut steals the headlines. dark

Young pitchers take patience, but sometimes that applies to older arms like Nick Pivetta. A pitcher like Dave Stewart and Dazzy Vance can be borderline and then put it all together at 30 years old. The next few years may be frustrating for RSN and their young pitchers, but the result could be quality and depth.