8. Red Sox
The only member of the Red Sox rotation that was in their Opening Day 2014 rotation was Clay Buchholz, who made 28 starts and had a 5.34 ERA. At this point, Buchholz is what he is – he turned 30 last August, has never made 30 starts in a season, and has never even thrown 190 innings in the majors. It’s a fool’s errand to count on him being a significant contributor this year. Joe Kelly ended the year with Boston, and he’ll likely take up a rotation spot this year. Kelly was erratic in ten starts down the stretch with the Red Sox, posting a 4.11 ERA over 61 1/3 innings, striking out 41, and walking 32.
The three new additions to Boston’s starting five bring more reasons for optimism. Ex-Tiger Rick Porcello is just 26 and coming off the best season of his career. With Detroit in 2014, Porcello threw 204 2/3 innings and pitched to a 3.43 ERA, both career bests. However, he’s not a big strikeout rate (and never has been), and his groundball rate was a career-worst in 2014. He’ll also be a free agent after 2015, so he could be one and done in Boston. Wade Miley won’t be one and done after the Red Sox bought out the rest of his arbitration years this winter. The former Diamondback had a 4.34 ERA in 2014, but still did throw 201 1/3 innings and struck out 183. Justin Masterson is the wild card after an ugly 2014, split between the Indians and Cardinals. In just 128 2/3 innings, Masterson had an ugly 5.88 ERA along with 116 strikeouts and 69 walks. Essentially, the Red Sox are banking on bounceback years from Masterson and Kelly, continued progression from Miley and Porcello, and whatever they can get out of Buchholz. If everything goes right, they would win another title. If not, it could be another long year in Boston.
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