Competition for open spots in the Red Sox rotation is heating up

Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale
Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages
2 of 5
Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford
Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Kutter Crawford: 21 appearances (12 starts) with Red Sox in 2022

Kutter Crawford logged 77.1 innings with the Red Sox in 2022, making him one of the more experienced contenders for a spot in the 2023 rotation whenever the team faces injury problems. His ERA (5.47) and WHIP (1.42) at the big-league level last season are nothing to get excited about, but so far this spring he has looked impressive.

In his 2 spring training outings thus far (on February 27th and March 5th), he has logged 5 total innings, while scattering 2 hits and striking out 5 over that span. He has surrendered 0 runs and has yet to walk a batter. It would be foolish to take too much away from spring training results (in terms of stat-line and correlating it to regular season success), but Crawford has shown thus far that he is able to command the strike zone, induce weak contact, and make quality pitches.

If Kutter Crawford can do those things for the Red Sox early on in 2023, he has a good chance of delivering quality performances against weaker opponents like the Tigers and Royals. This would eliminate the need to rush Whitlock, Bello, and Paxton back to full strength, which reduces the risk of experiencing a setback.