February 12th 2017 – Catchers & Pitchers report date
Red Sox pitchers will begin training in just 9 days. It feels like just yesterday when baseball fans caught the Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years. It’ll be 9 days until Sox fans get to see their first glimpse of Chris Sale wearing red socks. Literally. A few questions are still lingering as the Sox still have a question mark behind Sandy Leon at the catcher position. Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez remain the two current backups at this point. If one of them can really show up during Spring Training, they’ll most likely get the call up.
It’s almost a sure bet that Leon will begin the season as the starting catcher with Swihart taking over as his backup. Vazquez has the highest mountain to climb given his struggles of 2016 and overall lack of combined power and ability to hit for average. His ability to be a good fielder also remains in question. Sandy Leon committed just one error while Christian Vazquez committed two in less time behind home.
Chris Sale remains as the player to keep your eyes locked on all spring training. Expect a lot of strike outs and a lot of excitement for the next couple months. If Sale can replicate his numbers from last season I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win in the 18-20 games range. He’ll undoubtedly be able to go the distance in more games since he’ll have more run support in Boston.
David Price has a lot to prove as his 2016 year was a major disappointment. He did have 228 strike outs which was great but the home run numbers need to come down a bit, along with his 3.99 ERA. It’d be nice to see Price allow in the range of 20 or so home runs and see his ERA drop to the 3.30’s range as well. If that happens we could see Price win 16-19 games this season.
Rick Porcello, the defending Cy Young Winner, will be good again this year just not as remarkable as last season. I wouldn’t call it a complete fluke but he had a lot of things going right for him and all at the same time. Every pitcher in Boston will have their numbers take a little statistical dive this year as their overall run production won’t be as high as last season. Losing big Papi will hurt not just in September but the whole year so again Sox fans have to hope for some miracles from their young talent. I’m expecting Porcello to get in and around the range of 14-17 wins this season which is still a solid campaign.
Best case scenario our front three starters get 56 wins combined. I’m thinking however that they’ll get 49 wins together. Eduardo Rodriguez if he can stay healthy and replicate his 2015 numbers could win 10-13 games again. The final piece to the 5 man rotation is Drew Pomeranz and supposedly he’s been able to get over his shoulder injury. Spring training will be the perfect test to see what he can do after a couple months of rest. I’m hoping to see 10-15 wins out of him this year. All in all, combining our starting rotation with an elite closer, the Red Sox pitching staff should be more than just fine for the 2017 campaign.