Drew Pomeranz was an entirely different pitcher after battling injuries in 2018. Will the Red Sox take a flyer to bring him back?
Photo credit: (Sept. 27, 2018 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America from Zimbio.com)
This past season was a season to forget for Drew Pomeranz. After being acquired for highly touted pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, Pomeranz was faced with a lot of hype. He did not live up to it in 2016 after being acquired, and fell well below the mark in 2018. However, 2017 there was some promise in that left arm. It’s important to note that he was riddled with injuries in 2018, starting the year with a flexor strain, then a left biceps strain and even a neck strain. The real question is, which Pomeranz is the real one?
The Case for Drew Pomeranz:
Drew Pomeranz is only a year removed from a stellar season. During the 2017 season, he went 17-9 with a 3.32 ERA over the course of 173.2 innings. Pomeranz struck out 174 batters while walking 69 of them. He was stability in a rotation that needed it while David Price was battling his own injuries. During the 2018 season, Pomeranz posted a 8.0 K/9 and a 5.4 BB/9, both of which were off from his career norm. He generally averages about 9.0 K/9 and a BB/9 that is in the 3.5 range. It is possible that rust and injuries played a part in command that was spotty. If he returns to career norms, there will still be value in him.
Drew Pomeranz also experienced some issues with his fastball velocity as well. Throughout his career his fastball was routinely in the low 90s. During the beginning of 2018, it was off by a few MPH and at the end of 2018, he had an average velocity of 89.3 MPH. Toward the end of 2018, his fastball seemed to be ticking back up into the low 90s, which would suggest that his command and velocity issues were due to injury.
The Case Against Drew Pomeranz:
There is a very clear case against Drew Pomeranz. He is anything but a sure bet when it comes to being a rotation arm. He has never topped 175 innings over the course of a year. This will add stress to any bullpen that he pitches in front of. Pomeranz also enters his age 30 season after having spent time on the DL with arm troubles, it is doubtful to get better as he progresses. Usually aging pitchers with a history of arm troubles do not magically become work horses.
Drew Pomeranz posted a 6.08 ERA over 26 games that saw him start 11 games. His record was 2-6 and the Red Sox were also close to a .500 team in games he pitched as well. Pomeranz did not contribute in the slightest at the Major League level in 2018. He was so untrustworthy that in an 18 inning game during the World Series, he was the only pitcher outside of Chris Sale that was not used. Given his spotty performance and seemingly short performances, it is hard to see the Red Sox wanting to commit a roster spot to him.
Drew Pomeranz should be jettisoned off of the Red Sox island and left there en route to 2019. It was clear he was one of the weakest links to 2018, if there ever was one. The Red Sox do have some rotation issues coming up in the next few years, but I do not believe that Pomeranz will be able to help fill them at all. The Red Sox might be losing Rick Porcello and Chris Sale in a year, but Pomeranz is not the answer. He is not a work horse, and never has shown flashes to be a work horse. For a team looking to contend, wasting a roster spot on a pitcher who might contribute is just not an option. Save the money, look elsewhere instead.