- Sep 30, 2010
I don't think you can really say the Sox lack depth of pitching. The ceiling is not all that high for this bunch, but the depth is there.
Porcello, Miley, Buchholz, Kelly, Masterson, Workman, Barnes, and Wright should be ready from the get go with Owens, Johnson, Rodriguez, and Escobar joining after a couple months, and they should all be capable of 5th starter level performance.
"They should all be capable of 5th starter level performance" applies to pretty much the entire rotation, which is the problem with this team -- they've got a collection of third-to-fifth starters.
This feels a lot like the classic "all-hitting, no-pitching Sox" of decades past, the most recent vintage of which was in 1996. In 1996 the team scored over 900 runs and wound up with a team ERA+ of 101 with Clemens, Mike Stanton and Heathcliff Slocumb having great years. They won 85 games.
Two comparable starting staffs might be the 2005 and 1997 (first year post-Clemens) Sox. In 1997, Wake-Gordon-Sele-Suppan-Avery were the main starters while the team waited for Saberhagen to get healthy. It did not go well, and the team wound up with an ERA+ under 100. In 2005, Wake-Arroyo-Clement-Wells-Miller were the main starters while the team waited for Schilling to get healthy. It did not go well, and the team wound up with an ERA+ under 100. Unfortunately, the Sox don't even have the "potential ace we're waiting to get healthy" this year, unless you want to equate waiting for a Hamels trade with waiting for guys to get healthy.
I also have serious concerns about a groundball-heavy team relying on X at SS. If he struggles on D, that will make getting good performances out of the starters that much harder.
85 wins sounds about right.
Edit: And as I was typing this out, Joe Kelly left his start with an injury. So that's not good.