We are approaching the end of MLB’s 2020 regular season, and this week will be the last set of games the Boston Red Sox play this year. With the exception of JD Martinez, the offense played up to expectations. Meanwhile, the pitching was a mess. This led them to a losing season, just two years after they looked untouchable.
Assuming they get a top five pick in the draft next year, GM Chaim Bloom and the front office will likely select a pitcher, possibly someone like a Kumar Rocker or Jack Leiter. Even if they get a top pitching prospect though, they won’t be up in the majors until 2024 or later. Here is what their 2021 rotation could look like though.
Chris Sale, LHP
Sale didn’t pitch this season, as he opted to have Tommy John surgery in March. While it’s currently unknown if he’ll be ready for Opening Day next year, we’re going to assume he will be. Performance wise, there’s not much to say about Sale. He was the ace of the 2018 championship team, and is one of the best pitchers in the league when healthy. If he’s ready, Sale will be on the mound Opening Day.
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
Like Sale, E-Rod also didn’t pitch this season. After contracting COVID-19, he’s been dealing with heart related issues and didn’t want to risk worsening things. He’s expected to be ready for spring training next year though, so it’ll be good to see him with the Sox again. In 2019 he went 19-6 and with a career high 213 strikeouts. After such an impressive season, Rodriguez finished 6th in Cy Young voting, and will likely be their ace if Sale is unable to return.
Nathan Eovaldi, RHP
Eovaldi has had a very confusing 2020 season. Filling in for Sale and Rodriguez, he got the ball on opening night for the Sox. In his first two starts, he looked amazing, just what the Sox needed. After that, he declined and went on the IL for a calf strain. Since then, he’s returned to make a couple starts and has looked pretty good. On a good day he tosses 100 mph consistently, but who knows what he’ll look like next year. Barring an offseason trade, Nate will have a spot in Boston’s rotation next year.
Martín Pérez, LHP
Pérez has been one of the bright spots this season, as his viral #PerezDay movement on social media has made him a Red Sox fan favorite. That’s not all he brings to the table though, as he quietly has had a really good season. While he doesn’t have the record to show for it due to the bullpen constantly blowing games, Pérez is having one of his best years.
Posting a 3.88 ERA, he has really found his control this year, taking multiple no hitters past 5 innings. He’s only signed through the end of this year, so resigning him should be a top priority for the Sox this offseason.
Tanner Houck, RHP
At the moment this is being posted, Houck has made two starts in MLB, combining for eleven innings of one run baseball. This came from out of nowhere, as he really didn’t have great numbers from his time in the minors. Last year, the Red Sox staff tweaked some of his mechanics, and they now look extremely similar to those of Chris Sale. Although he’s a righty, the delivery and windup are almost identical from a side by side comparison.
Chris Sale vs. lefty Tanner Houck. pic.twitter.com/i46P14AtDZ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 20, 2020
If Houck keeps working during the offseason and performing like he has been, he could very well have a spot in this rotation for the next few years.
Like I said earlier, it’s unclear if Sale will be ready for the start of the season. No one is even sure if Rodriguez will be 100%. If they aren’t available, expect to see someone like Nick Pivetta from the Brandon Workman/Heath Hembree trade in the rotation.
There will also be many free agent pitchers like Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman available, and Chaim Bloom has made it clear he’s looking to be very active in the offseason. Could we see one of them in a Sox uniform? Only time will tell but it’ll be interesting to see the starting rotation come Opening Day next year.
Photo credit: Michael Dwyer / AP