In 2022, the Red Sox saw many faces make starts throughout the year in Boston. Injuries played a major role in that, and Boston will hope for good health and consistency from its group come this year. Here’s a closer look at how the Red Sox rotation could shake out in 2023.
A Look at the Red Sox Rotation Options
- LHP Chris Sale (0-1, 3.18 ERA, 7.9 K/9 in 2022)
- RHP Corey Kluber (10-10, 4.34 ERA, 7.6 K/9)
- RHP Garrett Whitlock (4-2, 3.45 ERA, 9.4 K/9)
- RHP Nick Pivetta (10-12, 4.56 ERA, 8.8 K/9)
- RHP Brayan Bello/RHP Tanner Houck/RHP Josh Winckowski
The Red Sox rotation will look quite different for 2023, thanks to the departures of Nathan Eovaldi (Rangers), Rich Hill (Pirates), and RHP Michael Wacha (Padres). Not to mention, Boston hopes to have Chris Sale healthy and in the rotation for the 2023 campaign.
It’s been a struggle for Sale to stay on the mound over the last three seasons. The star left-hander has made just 11 starts in the regular season between 2020-22, and 14 overall. When healthy, Sale can use a very deceptive delivery and a wicked slider to his advantage. The good news is that Sale is throwing, and should make his first Spring Training appearance sometime in March.
New Red Sox RHP Corey Kluber signed with Boston in December. As we documented late last year, Boston will not be receiving the dominant version of Kluber from the early-to-mid 2010s. But, the veteran righty still possesses good command, and can fool hitters with a cutter/slider combination. But like Sale, Kluber has dealt with his own injury problems in recent years.
Former Rule 5 draft pick Garret Whitlock excelled in his first season in the Majors, a season in which he threw 73.1 IP out of the pen. While mainly used as a reliever in 2022. Whitlock did see his first action as a starter last year. Across nine starts (39.0 IP), Whitlock went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 1.26 WHIP. The 26-year-old dealt with hip problems last year, something to watch moving forward in 2023.
It’s been a tough camp thus far for Nick Pivetta, who went down to an illness earlier in the year and has been behind in his training. While Pivetta should be ready for Opening Day, the righty won’t represent Team Canada in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. The 30-year-old logged a career-high 179.2 IP in 2022.
The fifth starter slot will need to be decided this spring, as three pitchers who saw time in the Boston rotation last year should battle out throughout the coming weeks. One such name who should be in that battle is youngster Brayan Bello saw his first action in the Majors last year — but it didn’t go phenomenal. Bello recorded a 4.71 ERA and 1.78 WHIP across 57.1 IP with Boston last year. Bello can throw hard and change speeds in a hurry, but Bello still needs to refine his control. RHP Josh Winckowski (5-7, 5.89 ERA, 5.6 K/9), who saw 15 starts in the Red Sox rotation last year, also struggled.
Tanner Houck, meanwhile, has saw time in both the rotation and bullpen over the past few seasons. He’s been effective — Houck recorded a 3.15 ERA over 60 IP last year — by and large, but does Houck have the stuff to stick as a starter on a regular basis. The 26-year-old owns a very good slider to go along with a mid-90s fastball, but a reliable third weapon would do him well. Houck does make use of a changeup every now and then, but he doesn’t use it much in general.
Aside from the names mentioned here, LHP James Paxton is another name to watch. Paxton, though, has not thrown a pitch on a Major League mound since April 6, 2021.