The case for each pitcher in the race for a spot in the Red Sox starting rotation

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Cooper Criswell

The Red Sox signed Criswell this offseason without much hype. But soon after Giolito was injured, chief baseball officer Craig Breslow named Criswell as a potential starter option. Clearly, the club knew that it may need him to start at some point because he was instructed to prepare as a starting pitcher this spring training.

Criswell does have starting experience, although most of it came with Triple-A Durham. His two major league starts are his only big-league appearances from 2021 and 2022.

Criswell's 2023 with Triple-A Durham showed promise. He made 23 appearances, 17 of them starts, and he collected a 3.93 ERA with 80 strikeouts and 23 walks over 84.2 innings.

The right-hander's Grapefruit League stats have shown improvement from his last season and Breslow has referred to him as "an elite strike thrower." The Sox could use more strikes from their pitching staff as their defense has been questionable at best in recent years. Criswell has posted a 3.77 ERA, 13 strikeouts and three walks over 14.1 innings

Many fans and reporters believe Criswell will begin his season in Triple-A and Whitlock and Houck will hold the two final spots in the rotation. If he does end up in Worcester to start the season, Criswell has made himself out to be a quality call-up candidate for later in the season. But if Criswell can continue registering dominant performances like the one he made against the Pirates on March 11, he has a real shot at making the Opening Day roster as a starter.

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