Tanner Houck, in my eyes, is the "favorite child" of the Red Sox rotation. Whether he goes out there and gives you seven scoreless innings or watches four balls clear the Monster onto Landsdowne, Sox fans still embrace the kid. On paper, Houck doesn't fit the bill to be the fifth starter. He was an underwhelming 6-10 in 2023 with a 5.01 ERA and 99 strikeouts. Houck isn't going to go deep into games. He's not going to save your bullpen. And, he's not going to record double-digit strikeouts every time he toes the rubber. However, agree to disagree, Houck knows how to get batters out and has proven that he's efficient enough when called upon.
A majority of Red Sox fans saw enough of Garrett Whitlock in 2023 to delegate him to the bullpen without a second thought. However, like Houck, he gets batters out and usually puts the Red Sox in a position to win. I would argue Whitlock, unlike a few others, does have the ability to go a little deeper into games and doesn't walk many batters -- only 13 walks in all of 2023 (a career low).
So, who gets the nod in 2024 if the arms above fight for that last rotation spot? Admittedly, for better or worse, I would be fine with any of the four, but, if I'm calling the shots, I'm going with Nick Pivetta. It will be interesting to see how the offseason shakes up the rotation, and what puzzle pieces will ultimately put this thing together.