Red Sox Offseason so Far
So far this offseason the Red Sox have focused on improving their offense. Last year they hit 168 home runs, a huge drop-off from the year before. It was their first year without David Ortiz and players they expected to step up did not, causing the offense to struggle. This has shown that the strength of this team could be their pitching. The Red Sox pitching staff has the talent to be one of the best. They just have to be consistent.
Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer AP/ Photo
The Pitching Staff
The Red Sox have two Cy Young award winners in their rotation. Rick Porcello won the award two years ago and David Price won it in 2012. Chris Sale, arguably the best Red Sox starter, almost won the award last year. Last season these three weren’t as dominant as people expected them to be. Price dealt with injuries that derailed his season and Rick Porcello struggled all year. Sale was the only one of three who pitched to expectations. The Sox did receive a breakout year from Drew Pomeranz, who won sixteen games. Their number five starter Eduardo Rodriguez battled injuries, but when healthy showed why he was once a top prospect.
Outlook for the Starters
Next year the Red Sox starting pitchers should be better as a group. That hinges on them being healthier and for some such as Porcello and Rodriguez returning to form. Sale will put up Cy Young numbers while Price will win close to twenty games. Pomeranz should build on his breakout campaign and again win 15 or 16 games. The two wildcards are Porcello and Rodriguez. Porcello isn’t as bad as he was last year when he was one of the worst pitchers in baseball. Porcello pitches best behind a good offense, which was the main concern this offseason. The last one of the group, Eduardo Rodriguez, is extremely talented but has struggled to stay healthy. If he continues to struggle with his health his time with the Red Sox could be over.
Photo Credit: John Raoux
The Sox will be returning next season as a very talented group. They have Craig Kimbrel, who is one of the best, if not the best, closer in baseball. After struggling as a starter Joe Kelly showed last year that he could be a very effective reliever. Two pitchers to watch closely in this group are Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg as they are both returning from significant injuries. Both these relievers were among the best in the game before their injuries caused them to miss whole seasons. Smith missed all of 2016 before returning at the end of last season and Thornburg missed all of 2017.
Photo Credit: Chris Chavez
The Red Sox have the potential to have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. It all hinges on health and some of these players returning to form. If that happens then the Red Sox pitching could carry them which will be crucial come playoff time.