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Thursday, 23 March 2017 01:33

Boston Red Sox: Jess' Player to Look Out For in 2017 - Drew Pomeranz

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WIll Drew Pomeranz be a steady rotation member this season? WIll Drew Pomeranz be a steady rotation member this season?

There hasn’t been a lot of positive Drew Pomeranz chatter in the recent past. Was he worth the top pitching prospect? Should the Red Sox have given him back to the Padres? Will he ever be healthy? For all these reasons, Pomeranz is my player to watch for in 2017.

This is a crucial year for the tall left-hander in his first full season in Beantown. It’s tough to judge how good Pomeranz is because his first very good season in the majors was last year with the San Diego Padres. He was 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA in 17 starts before a deadline deal to Boston. 


But when he came to Boston, he was only 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 13 starts, while allowing a whopping 14 home runs compared to only eight in SD.


Before Pomeranz had a breakout year with the Padres last year, he was very average. He was a combined 14-24 with a 4.51 ERA in five seasons with the Rockies and Athletics. 


Was he worth trading the number one pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza away?

Well, the answer to this right now, is: who knows? But this is the question most people are asking because the Sox needed pitching last year and GM Dave Dombrowski decided it was worth dealing a 19-year old top prospect for the newly named All-Star Drew Pomeranz.


With Espinoza, it was hard to know what would happen because at such a young age, anything can happen to the guy. So many young pitching prospects end up being busts and the Red Sox have had horrendous luck grooming their pitching down on the farm. Espinoza was compared to Pedro Martinez, but that shouldn’t necessarily mean a lot at 19 years old. 


In Pomeranz, the Sox saw a 27-year old (now 28) who just became an All-Star, having a dominating first half for a terrible team. 


He had already been traded three times in his career, but he seemed to have turned a corner and become one of the young pitching stars in the game. 


As we know, Pomeranz came to the Sox and struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark. He really didn’t pitch that poorly but he had several games where the Sox couldn’t get wins, which is what he is judged by.


Eventually, his arm started to get sore because he had never pitched so many innings in a season and he was relegated to the bullpen for the postseason. 


Should the Sox have given him back to the Padres?

The situation got very interesting when on September 16, the MLB unveiled that Padres general manager A.J. Preller withheld medical records from the Red Sox about Pomeranz’s health. 


He was suspended 30 games without pay and the Red Sox were given the option to give Pomeranz back to San Diego. They decided to keep him. 


I think it was the right decision because we hadn’t seen enough of him to see if he was worth it yet. It made sense that his arm was sore, however, because there were obviously issues that we didn’t know about at the time. 

Will he stay healthy?

This is the big question. After having arm issues last year, Pomeranz elected to have a stem cell injection in his elbow as an experiment to see if he could strengthen his elbow for the season. 


He worked his way back and pitched in a spring training game on Sunday but was pulled after two innings with left triceps tightness.  


It turns out, he was just pitching in a slightly different way that put a little pressure on his arm. He fixed it, said he was fine and all was well. He said it was just precautionary and he should be good to progress with his program to get his first start of the season.


2017 outlook

Pomeranz is my player to watch for because it all comes down to his health. If he isn’t healthy and the Sox end up with Pomeranz and Price missing time, then the rotation isn’t as good as we all thought it would be. 


If he stays healthy and pitches like he did last year in San Diego, it would help the team tremendously. 


I have faith that he will stay healthy. I believe that he pitched fairly well last year minus the home runs, so if he can just attack the zone and keep the ball in the park, he should be able to have success this year with less pressure on him with the big names on the roster. 


It seems from reading what people are saying about the big lefty, there isn’t a lot of trust or faith in the guy to get the job done, so I am taking the opposite opinion. I think he has worked past his elbow issues and will be a solid AND healthy contributor to this rotation. 


If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Red Sox Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px}
Jess Thomas

Jess Thomas is the Red Sox Beat Team Manager and a member of the Boston Celtics beat team for CLNS Radio. Jess is a co-host on CLNS Radio's Red Sox Beat Podcast as well as a contributor to Celtics Postgame Shows.

Jess currently is a Celtics Production Assistant at the official home of Boston Celtics telecasts, Comcast Sports Net New England.

Jess also currently writes for the MetroWest Daily News.

Previously, Jess was General Manager for Framingham State University's radio station, WJDM 91.3 FM, as well as sports editor for FSU's newspaper, the Gatepost.

Prior to joining CLNS Radio, Jess was an intern at CSNNE as well as WCVB.

Jess is a 2014 graduate of Framingham State University, with a degree in Communication Arts.

You can follow Jess on Twitter @CLNS_JessSayin