Sure, Clay Buchholz could turn it around as he has the most talent of the starters in the Boston Red Sox rotation. Maybe even Rick Porcello could be the guy who will step it up and be the presence at the top of the rotation in a depleted AL East. But if everything goes right, Wade Miley is the starting pitcher who could potentially be the biggest star the Red Sox acquired in the offseason.
Miley, 28, really flourished in 2014 even with a career-high 4.34 ERA. His strikeout rate grew as he struck out 183 batters in just over 200 innings of work. In his previous two seasons, he had not struck out more than 150 batters in any single season.
The left-handed starter struggled at Chase Field in his career with a 4.33 ERA at home compared to 3.31 on the road. In inter-league starts, he went 5-3 with a 4.44 ERA in 12 game started and against AL East squads he went 2-1 with a 4.14 ERA in five starts since joining the Diamondbacks in 2011. This includes a 2-0 mark with a tremendous 0.68 ERA in 13.1 innings of work against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Miley should be able to use his slider as he did in 2014. Last season, he threw it 25 percent of the time and was able to get batters to swing and miss more as well as keep it in the ballpark.
The 2012 All-Star and runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 2012 has a lot to prove, but could be the anchor of this staff if he can keep the ball down and the strikeouts up. If the offense can support him, then the lefty should be able to eat up innings and wins.
Over his first three full seasons, he has averaged 199.1 innings and is a workhorse that the Red Sox need towards the front of the rotation. Buchholz is too fragile and Porcello is coming off the best season of his career last year. Miley should be on everyone’s watch list to breakout in 2015 and could potentially be the next lefty ace for the Red Sox.