With the major moves behind us, the winter meetings fading out of focus, the Red Sox are looking pretty good. They lost a catcher, a major outfielder, and maybe they will also lose a key element on the left side of their infield.
Not just pitching, but deep starting pitching and a great array of bullpen arms.
They have depth in the bullpen with lefties Craig Breslow, Drake Britton, Andrew Miller, and Franklin Morales. As for the righties there are additions of Edward Mujica, Burke Badenhop, and Anthony Ranaudo. These fill out the existing righties Ryan Dempster (looks like he will be in the bullpen), Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara, , and let us not forget the flutterballer Steven Wright we hope to see again.
With plenty of options in the bullpen, we turn to the starting rotation and try to project how it will pan out for Opening Day 2014.
Red Sox Starting Rotation 2014
Reserve: Brandon Workman
Reserve: Allan Webster
Reserve: Steven Wright
The uncontested number one starting pitcher for the Red Sox had a great 2013 campaign. It was in line with the last six seasons with the Red Sox dating back to 2008 where he pitched over 30 games every single season. He averaged above the 200 innings over this period and will again be the lead horse in the 2014 starting rotation.
He is our starting pitcher for slot number one in every situation.
The working man type of pitcher, who is not always that amazing strikeout machine, but grinds out games year in and year out. Over his three seasons with the Red Sox he has been consistently put in 28+ starts, averages a little over 188 innings per year, and averaging a little over 4.77 ERA. He was great in the postseason with nine starts over the last three seasons where he it much tougher, posting a little over 2 ERA.
This working, fighting, horse of a pitching mentality puts John Lackey in the number two slot in our rotation.
When healthy he is a force to be reckoned with, but in 2013 he only started 16 games for the Red Sox and completed 108.1 innings. In 2014 we expect him to be healthy and make at least 28 starts as he did in the off years between injury seasons if we look back to 2010 game logs.
Over the longer season his ERA climbs a bit higher and puts him for us in the number three slot in the starting rotation.
The last two seasons have seen Felix Doubront break out into the Red Sox starting rotation, with an average of 28 starts, over 161 innings pitched each year, and a steady 4+ ERA he has been reliable. He was versatile in the postseason throwing 7 relief innings with a 1.29 ERA, bowing out of the rotation when asked and filling the gaps needed by the team.
His consistency and calm demeanor on the mound puts him into the number four slot of our starting rotation.
If you need a fiery, passionate, fighting mentality on the pitching mound then the Red Sox did a great acquisition last year to pull in starting pitcher Jake Peavy. Over 23 starts for the Red Sox he covered 144+ innings and posted a 4.17 ERA. He was not so fantastic in the postseason, but the fire was there and who does not love a fighter that is spitting, fuming, and working his butt off on the mound?
Jake Peavy gets the final slot in our starting rotation.
The three reserve pitchers named are the first guys we expect to be called up should injury, performance, or the common cold keep any of our starting five pitchers out of their rotation spots. Brandon Workman showed the most promise in 2013, with Alan Webster sitting in the wings showing good improvements over the year. Finally, we never want to give up on Steven Wright, flutterballer that will maybe have better luck with A.J.Pierzynski behind the plate in 2014.
The key here is to note how solid this rotation can be, the depth and quality waiting in the wings, and to realize that good pitching will easily compensate for the offensive loss that can be expected with the departures of the big name players.
The Red Sox are going to be sitting pretty in 2014 with this starting rotation.
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell