Does Drew Pomeranz Have Anything Left In The Tank?

Drew Pomeranz had another short rough night Sunday. Pomeranz threw 64 pitches in just 3 2/3 innings in a 5-4 Red Sox comeback win. In his outing, he gave up seven hits and four runs, including another homer by Gary Sanchez for a fortunate no-decision. Sunday marked the second consecutive outing in which Pomeranz failed to go four innings.

Going into this year, Pomeranz’s career high for innings pitched was just 96.2. His 2016 Pomeranzinnings pitched total is already up to 164.1. Granted most of his career has been in the bullpen. Add to that the fact that he was injured when the Red Sox traded for him and John Farrell may have himself a problem. Spare Dave Dombrowski though; he didn’t know A.J. Preller was the biggest scumbag in the baseball business. Preller, the Padres GM, was suspended for 30 days for withholding injury information from the Red Sox.

Considering Pomeranz’s last two starts, it is likely that he is experiencing extreme fatigue. Even from a guy who doesn’t throw hard, Pomeranz still does not have much experience starting; let alone in a stressful pennant race. During the month of September, Pomeranz has really struggled with the command of his off-speed pitches. The lack of command has led to short outings with a low-pitch count, highlighted by home runs hit off his mediocre fastball.

Pomeranz’s Role Going Forward

Obviously, Pomeranz is a big part of this starting rotation. If he is beginning to wilt, what can the Red Sox do with him? In a postseason set-up, I don’t think Pomeranz will be a starter. He should be a long guy out of the bullpen, much like Jon Lester was in 2007 and Felix Doubront in 2013. That could limit Pomeranz’s innings and they could use his off-speed stuff against lefties in high leverage situations. Most beneficially, it will keep Fernando Abad off the mound in the postseason.

Against all odds, this may not be a risky move by the Red Sox. I say that because a month ago I couldn’t believe that Clay Buchholz would be a formidable fourth starter in the playoffs. With Buchholz’s last month, excusing that one start in Toronto last weekend, he has been a pleasant surprise. Also, Stephen Wright’s shoulder injury all but ends his season so don’t expect to see him in any capacity come October.

This brings up a frustrating situation for the Red Sox considering what they gave up. Boston shipped out one of the best prospects, Anderson Espinoza, to San Diego to correct the issues with the starting rotation. Pomeranz has been a disappointment and now he really can’t get any better without rest. The real problem with the Red Sox will be finishing off the regular season with a division title if Pomeranz is this ineffective.

Red Sox Farm System Packed With Talent

From Salem to Pawtucket the Red Sox farm system is already seeing a lot of success from its minor league players, and it’s only the end of the first month of the season.

The High-A Class Salem Red Sox have two red hot players tearing up the Carolina LeagueRed Sox Farm System with no signs of slowing down. Yoan Moncada (Boston’s No.1 prospect at MLB.com) and Andrew Benintendi (Boston’s No.3 prospect at MLB.com) both have 13-game hitting streaks going that they protected Saturday April 23rd against Winston-Salem. That makes 14 out of 16 games in which Benintendi has hit safely. Going into the last week of April, Moncada is hitting .357 with six extra base hits, 14 runs, eight RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Benintendi is hitting .338 with six triples, eight doubles, and 11 RBIs. The way the Salem Red Sox are playing makes me wish I still lived in Virginia so I could watch them live!

Class A Greenville’s Anderson Espinoza, Boston’s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com, has a 1-1 record this season with a 2.45 ERA in four starts with 20 strikeouts. In 15 starts last season between Dominican Summer League, rookie Gulf Coast League, and Greenville, Espinoza commanded a 1.23 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings. After being signed to a $1.8 million bonus by Boston during the 2014-15 international signing period, Espinoza has been closely watched by the Red Sox Nation as he continues his climb up to the majors.

Here in Pawtucket you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who is disappointed in the Class AAA Red Sox performance so far. The Class AAA team goes into the final week of April having won 8 of their last 10 games and continue their fight to stay in first place in the International League. Rusney Castillo and Blake Swihart continue working on their hitting so they can rejoin the Red Sox in Boston. While Swihart has a little ways to go before his batting average improves, Castillo is hitting .303 with a .395 OBP in eight games.

Fans should have a lot to be excited about as the Red Sox farm system continues to develop its hot prospects.