The Boston Red Sox are coming off a season in which their starting pitching was horrid. After dealing away Jon Lester and John Lackey at the trade deadline, the team had no so called 'ace' of the staff towards the end of last season, and the same problem emerges this year.
Joe Kelly (6-4, 4.20 ERA) and Clay Buchholz return from the rotation last year. With the additions of Rick Porcello (15-13, 3.43 ERA), Wade Miley (8-12, 4.34 ERA), and starter/reliever Justin Masterson (7-9, 5.88 ERA), Boston has added veteran guys to man the middle of their rotation. With rumors of the Red Sox trading or adding a big name starting pitcher cooling off, the question remains, who is your number one starter come opening day?
The twenty seven year old right-hander was acquired this off-season in a trade for Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Wilson. Porcello, who is coming off a year in which he posted fifteen wins and pitched for over 200 innings (both career highs), has the stuff to be the potential ace for the Red Sox this season. He has started at least twenty-seven games in each year of his six year MLB career and has never been on the disabled list, so at least we know this guy is going to go out every five days and pitch. Porcello does not light up the radar gun by any means, but his several types of pitches make him a very effective ground ball pitcher (he reminds me a lot like Bronson Arroyo). But will the pressure get to him? Porcello is no longer the fourth guy in a rotation behind Cy Young award winners Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander as well as Anibal Sanchez, so does he have the stuff to lead a rotation? I believe he does, but we'll have to see.
Kelly was brought over in a package deal for John Lackey last trade deadline. The hard throwing right-hander has the potential to be a fifteen game winner for this club, but control issues has caused some struggle for him so far in his career. He has a power sinker that can reach up to 97 MPH, that can either be a strikeout pitch or force several ground balls. Kelly was a big part in the Cardinals run to the World Series in 2013 going 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA. I believe Joe Kelly will have a very good year this year and will shock a lot of people.
Miley was aqcuired in a trade with Arizona back in December for Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. Miley, a left handed middle of the rotation kind of guy, had a tough 2014 season after putting up impressive numbers the year before. Miley went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA in 2012, he was an All Star and finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year behind Bryce Harper. Miley is another guy that will go out and eat innings for you, in his three years in the league he has pitched at least 200 innings in all of those seasons. Wade is not the kind of guy you send out Game 7 of the World Series but if he has a his usual stuff this year, I believe he can be a pretty effective pitcher for this staff.
The question will remain, which Clay Buchholz are we going to see this year? After a 2013 season in which he went 12-1 with a 1.94 ERA and was pretty much the most dominant pitcher in the AL East that year (when he was healthy), we know Clay has the stuff to lead this rotation and be a potential 18 game winner. But injuries have plagued Clay the past few seasons, after posting a career low in wins, earned run average and innings pitched (minimum 20 games started in these stats) last season, we don't know what this season could bring him. In my opinion, I am not a big Clay Buchholz fan, I feel as if this guy is always complaining about something wrong with him and won't just shut up and pitch. I can say this though, if this year Clay can be half as good as he was in 2013, than this Red Sox rotation should be just fine.
For the Red Sox, it is pretty unknown who could lock up the # 5 slot in this rotation. It could be veteran sinker baller Justin Masterson or a young guy like Anthony Raunado, who showed some bright spots in 2014.
If the Red Sox want to contend again in 2015, then this rotation needs to be good, even though their offense could be the best in the American League.
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Jake Wesley is now the only writer for MLB_NL_AL.com all of these articles are ether based on facts and pieces of his opinion.