With the MLB All Star break upon us it is time to examine how each player on the Red Sox has fared thus far this season. We already released our mid-season grades for the Red Sox outfield and now it is time to look at the starting rotation.
The grades will be broken down by position and will ultimately be based on the expectations the players had entering the season.
Chris Sale: 11-4, 2.75 ERA, 127.2 IP, 178 SO, .90 WHIP, .200 AVG against
Expectations for this bonafide stud were sky high after Dave Dombrowski traded prized prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech this off-season to acquire Sale. It’s safe to say that Sale has lived up to expectations and his status as a legit ace (unlike some 30 million dollar a year pitcher we will get to a little bit later).
I’d even argue that Sale has surpassed the lofty expectations that were placed upon him at the start of the season. At the midway point, Sale is far and away the favorite to win the AL CY Young award which is a feat he has never accomplished (Sale has finished in the top 5 in voting the last four years) and he was just announced as the starting pitcher for the AL in Tuesday’s ASG.
Sale has been a workhorse at the top of the Sox rotation (pitching under 6 innings in just 1 of his 18 starts) and his consistency (4+ ER in just 3 of 18 starts) has been a major reason the Sox rotation has been able to survive the struggles of Rick Porcello and early season injuries of Steven Wright (out for year), David Price (missed 1st two months of season), and Eduardo Rodriguez (out since June 1st). Plus you’ve got to love the bulldog attitude Sale has provided to the club, the guy always says the right thing, unlike…..
David Price: 4-2, 3.91 ERA, 53 IP, 50 SO, 1.25 WHIP, .235 AVG against
After missing the first two months of the season, David Price and his unique elbow were able to avoid Tommy John surgery and return to the mound on May 29th. Since that time Price has gotten into two pretty public verbal spats with media members (Evan Drellich and Dennis Eckersley), but minus one rough start in NY on June 8th (5 IP, 6 ER) Price has managed to pitch pretty well.
His velocity is up a tick from last season, which is surprising due to that concerning elbow, and his control has looked sharp after shaking off the dust in his first couple of starts after returning from the DL.
Overall it’s hard to give Price a fair grade because on one hand he is making 30 million dollars a year to be the Red Sox ace, or at least the 1B to Chris Sale’s 1A, and on the other hand, a couple of months ago it looks like Price was going to be shut down for the season, so the solid production he’s had thus far feels like a bonus.
I’d like to give him an “incomplete” but that’s the easy way out, so for now I’ve settled on an optimistic B-. Price’s first two starts of July have been lights out (12 IP, 14 SO, 1.25 ERA) so I would not be surprised if he reverts to his pre-Red Sox days and provides the team with another ace to pair with Chris Sale (which was kind of the plan all along).
My main hope for Price is that, for the sake of his own mental sanity, is that he finally realizes that as long as he pitches well no one in Boston with give a hoot about his tweets, his attitude, and for the most part will leave him alone. Felger and Mazz included (well for the most part, I’m sure they’ll still find something to bitch about)
Stay tuned for part 2 which will look at Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Rick Porcello.