Is it rotation or bullpen or both for Whitlock?
Garrett Whitlock was the multi-purpose tool on the pitching staff, doing every conceivable role, including closing. As a closer, Whitlock’s sample is slightly more extensive than Houck’s. In 19.1 save innings, the righty punched out 22 and issued just two free passes. His efforts notched Whitlock six saves against two failures, both failures against the Yankees.
Whitlock is a power pitcher with three pitches at his command and a 30.4 CSW%. Whitlock’s best splits were in relief, but like Houck, he may be commandeered to the rotation. Whitlock also has just a .217 BABIP.
The Houck-Whitlock issue will be an off-season story line especially if the Red Sox lose a few bodies from the rotation. Both could be part of the rotation scrum, or maybe just one? Or none?
Whitlock has great potential and the Red Sox knew that and quickly locked him up with a four-year extension. The use of Whitlock in the rotation does not exclude him from returning to the ‘pen in a worst-case scenario. That is a task he has shown in 2022.
The significant concern is Houck’s back and Whitlock’s hip. Both had surgical intervention, and the medical promise is they’ll be ready for spring training. For me, it would be Houck closing and Whitlock into the rotation.