2. Darwinzon Hernandez
For several years, the Red Sox have tried to unlock this potential they see in Darwinzon Hernandez, and each season it’s essentially the same story: he issues too many walks, and he allows too many runs.
Due to injuries, Hernandez barely pitched for Boston in 2022, only throwing 6 2/3 innings across seven appearances. It’s too small of a sample size to judge by ERA, which came out to a whopping 21.60. Instead, look at what he did over those 6 2/3 innings. He allowed 16 earned runs on 14 hits. He gave up four home runs, after giving up five in 40 innings the year before. He walked eight batters.
It’s almost impressive how much he managed to do in such a small amount of time on the mound.
Between his 2019 debut and 2021, Hernandez posted a 3.66 ERA across 84 games, including one start and seven games finished. He barely allowed home runs before 2022, but his career 17.7% walk rate defies logic; league average is 8.5%.
Much like Brasier, the question is how long does the leash go? The Sox collectively gave up the ninth-most walks of any team in baseball this year. They came into the offseason knowing they needed to overhaul the bullpen, and have spent tens of millions on some impressive relievers, including Chris Martin, who owns the lowest walk rate among active pitchers (with at least 200 career innings); in other words, he’s essentially the anti-Hernandez. Keeping both of them on the roster is a zero-sum setup.