The 2013 World Series champs are up next in our examination of the AL East pitching rotations. When we look over who is slated to begin the season on the mound at the beginning of games for the Red Sox, it is difficult not to see them as a good shot to work a repeated trip to the championship.Starting Pitching Rotation Analysis
Boston Red Sox
Potential Rotation Alternatives
ADP designated by * indicates no reported ADP as of date of publication. Projections are based on a compilation of several sources (ZiPS, Oliver, Steamer, RotoChamp), given equal weight.
Jon Lester is the workhorse of the Boston rotation. Aside from a WHIP that is a bit high for my standards, I wouldn't take him as my ace, that's for sure. Grabbing him as a SP3, however, intrigues me intensely. Although he hovers only around league average in K/9, and walks too many hitters, his groundball to fly ball ratio is good, not exceptional, and that helps him thrive. He is in the last year of his contract, so while that does not always play out precisely as many think, it is an impetus to continue his 2013 late season excellence.
John Lackey is almost being forgotten in drafts, but his WHIP and K/BB ratios make him a worthy late draft option. He had a lucky BABIP in 2013, so some regression is expected with regard to ERA and WHIP, but limiting walks and inducing grounders will play well for him this season. He will be a late steal if he can keep up what he did in 2013. Keep your eyes peeled for a bargain on draft day if his ADP stabilizes where in the late rounds.
Clay Buchholz is the third starter for Boston, but you have to worry about his ability to stay in the rotation. Neck and shoulder injuries hurt his production last season, and his end of the season comeback effort was not exactly stellar, but if he can return to his early 2013 dominance, he becomes extremely valuable. The ability to minimize homeruns, and induce groundballs will be key to his return to dominance. He is still going earlier in drafts than Lackey, so his value is not as great, but if you believe, then he is a worthwhile reach.
If Jake Peavy can stay healthy, he is a nice fantasy gamble. The rib injury last season, and now the cut from a fishing knife to one of his fingers on his throwing hand would seem to discount the possibility that he can can put up 200 innings. His increasing age is a factor to consider, as his hit count rises and the strikeouts diminish. Expect a bit of a regression as his 2013 BABIP and strand rate are likely unsustainable. He could be a nice waiver wire pick up, after some other owner drops him after a few bad outings.
I like Felix Doubront as Bostons' fifth starter, but his declining fastball velocity concerns me. His ability to induce groundballs and keep the ball in the park bode well for his success, but at 26 he's reaching the age where it is put up or shut up time. If he can establish his control and limit the free passes, he could move up in the rotation, but for now, he is a late round flier.
Chris Capuano is slotted in as a long reliever who should also get some spot starting opportunities. Relying on control and groundballs, he is nothing exciting and is best left to the waiver wire in your drafts. If some other owner drafts him, count your blessings.
There are very nice options to draft from the Boston rotation, but stick to Lester or Lackey unless you feel like gambling. Buchholz is a dice roll, and you could just crap out if you rely on him too heavily as part of your draft strategy. Peavy and Doubront are too risky for my blood, but in a deep league, may make sense as back of the rotation options.
If you disagree with my assessments, or just want to discuss starting pitching,I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy comments and am more than willing to engage in discussion about fantasy baseball, so feel free to write.