16 November 2007

Red Sox Starters in Review

Let's start with the 2008 Red Sox rotation.
Here are the starters with IP, ERA, WHIP, K-BB, HR, QS-#Starts,W-L, Grade in order of #Starts
My random guesses at 2008 stats are IP/ERA/WHIP/W-L

Daisuke Matsuzaka 204.2/4.40/1.32/201-80/25/18-32/15-12/C+
2008: 200/3.67/1.22/18-10
Dice didn't live up to the hype that was expected for the $51M posting and ensuing 6 year deal, but I think Dice's year was relatively positive. I point to the comparison with Josh Beckett in 2006: 204.2/5.01/1.29/158-74/36/16-11. Dice, in fact, has a better K/BB and HR/IP than Beckett in 2006. If Dice can gain confidence to pitch to contact in 2008, I think he can make a leap like Beckett in 2007, but if he can't and he continues to nibble like he did at the end of the 07 regular season, then it could be a long 2008 for the Japanese import.

Tim Wakefield 189.0/4.76/1.35/110-64/22/15-31/17-12/B
2008: 125/4.88/1.40/8-5
What can really be said about Wake? Until he hurt his back, he was well on his way to his best season ever, and here he is in his early forties. I'm guessing he has a few more effective seasons left in that knuckling tank, but if the back injury is chronic, his innings might be limited, but for $4M/year, he's worth bringing back until he can't pitch anymore.

Josh Beckett 200.2/3.27/1.14/194-40/17/20-30/20-7/A
2008: 211/3.01/1.15/22-6
The biggest thing about Beckett from 06 to 07, in my eyes, was Josh cutting his HR allowed by 50% in the same # of innings. Remarkable. He also significantly improved his K/BB and made a case for being the best postseason pitcher in MLB today. He has learned to pitch to contact and to pound the strikezone. What else can I say, he's a true ace.

Curt Schilling 151.0/3.87/1.25/101-23/21/14-24/9-8/B-
2008: 185/3.77/1.27/10-7
Curt missed a significant part of 2007 to injury and when he was pitching (minus the 1 hitter vs. Oakland), he was Curt 2.0, a wily pitcher trying to pitch to deadened contact rather than getting K's. He was mostly effective with this strategy during the Sox playoff run, but we'll see if he tries to build some velocity back up for his final(?) season in 2008 with the Sox.

Julian Tavarez 134.2/5.15/1.50/77-51/14/7-23/7-11/C-
2008: 110/4.98/1.48/6-7
I fully expect that the Sox will trade Tavarez for a part before 2008, but Julian was an "effective" swing man in 2007, I suppose for a stretch he was the best 5th starter in baseball, which I suppose is like saying you're the fastest slow man in the race. He versatility is useful, but Wakefield might fill the same role for the Sox in 08.

Jon Lester 63.0/4.57/1.46/50-31/10/5-11/4-0/A-
2008: 175/4.21/1.33/12-11
His stats might be deserved the A- grade, but just the fact that he came back from cancer in 2006 to get to this level and pitch as well as he did in the World Series is success enough. You really have to hope that he can reduce the K/BB significantly and cut down the HR allowed, but you had to like the way he pitched in Game 4 of the World Series. Of course, small sample sizes are not the best way to predict success, but my guess is Lester will be above league average in 2008, especially with another off season to recover.

Kason Gabbard 41.0/3.73/1.12/29-18/3/3-7/4-0/B (Sox stats only)
The Sox traded Gabbard at the height of his value, but they ended up with a bag of doorknobs anyway (a.k.a., Eric Gagne, Type B Free Agent). He'll be an adequate #4 SP for Texas in 2008 at best.

Clay Buchholz 22.2/1.59/1.06/22-10/0/2-3/3-1/A
2008: 180/3.55/1.19/11-4
He threw a no-hitter on his 2nd ML start. Filthy. He could use to reduce his K/BB but the sky is the limit with Buchholz. The question will be how the Sox treat Buchholz. My guess is he starts in the pen but makes it to the rotation fast, much like Chad Billingsley for the 2007 Dodgers. He will have his ups and downs, but look at Billingsley as a good proxy for Buchholz in 2008 and who knows from there.

Devern Hansack 7.2/4.70/1.83/5-5/2/1-0/0-1/Inc.
2008: 35/4.55/1.37/3-3
The current regime love the plucky Honduran. He might end up in the bullpen in 2008, playing the role of Julian Tavarez if Julian is traded and Wake is injured. Hard to tell what to predict here.

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