Ask any Red Sox fan during spring training who the team’s impact rookies would be during the upcoming season, and your answers would not vary much: Jonathan Papelbon for sure. Maybe they would have guessed Jon Lester, assuming he’d get a midseason call-up. A likely third choice would probably have been Craig Hansen
Anyone who says they would have guessed Kason Gabbard is a liar. Yet here we are with Kason, who ha pitched quite well in two of his three starts. Small sample size? Sure. But this kid in three Paul Konerko at bats recorded a strikeout and induced two double plays.
Back in June, right before Jon Lester made his debut, I posted the numbers for the then-astounding seven rookie pitchers who had played for the Sox to that point. Needless to say, there’ve been even more now. Using the MLBPA baseball card definition of a rookie (on the 25-man roster before Sept. 1), here’s a look at the Sox rookies this year:
- Abe Alvarez, 23: 1 G, 3 IP, 5H, 4R, 2BB, 2K
- Craig Breslow, 26: 5 G, 5.1 IP, 4H, 3BB, 7K, .211 BAA, 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
- Mike Burns, 28: 2 G, 2 IP, 3H, 0BB, 2K, .375 BAA, 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP*
- Bryan Corey, 32: 5 G, 8.2 IP, 9H, 4BB, 7K, .409 BAA, 3.12 ERA, 1.50 WHIP**
- Manny Delcarmen, 24: 2-0, 42 G, 46.2 IP, 53H, 14BB, 41K, .285 BAA, 3.86 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
- Lenny DiNardo, 26: 1-2, 8 G, 28.2 IP, 42H, 16BB, 16K, .350 BAA, 6.91 ERA, 2.02 WHIP
- Craig Hansen, 22: 1-1, 28 G, 30 IP, 39H, 9BB, 23K, .320 BAA, 6.60 ERA, 1.60 WHIP
- Kason Gabbard, 24: 1-3, 5 G, 18.1 IP, 16H, 8BB, 5K, .268 BAA, 3.93 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
- Jon Lester, 22: 7-2, 15 G, 81.1 IP, 91H, 43BB, 60K, .294 BAA, 4.76 ERA, 1.65 WHIP
- Jonathan Papelbon, 25: 4-2, 59 G, 68.1 IP, 40H, 13BB, 75K, .167 BAA, 0.92 ERA, 0.78 WHIP
- David Pauley, 23: 0-2, 3 G, 16 IP, 31H, 6BB, 10K, .419 BAA, 7.88 ERA, 2.31 WHIP
- Jermaine Van Buren, 26: 1-0, 10 G, 13 IP, 14H, 15BB, 8K, .292 BAA, 11.77 ERA, 2.23 WHIP
* Burns also pitched in 11 games for Cincinnati before being traded to Boston in August.
**Corey also pitched in 16 games for Texas before being traded to Boston in June.
DiNardo and Burns, although rookies based on their stats (fewer than 45 IP entering this season) may not be based on service time. Dealing with such sample sizes, it’s difficult to find any kind of trnd or nugget of truth in there. The ones we thought would do well — Papelbon, Lester, Hansen, Delcarmen — haven’t done too badly. Even Hansen, the youngest and worst of the top prospects, threw strikes and didn’t walk many.
I’d say the Sox — assuming they don’t pull off a blockbuster trade — could get good contributions next year out of Papelbon (duh), Lester (if he recovers well), Delcarmen, Hansen, Breslow, DiNardo and possibly Gabbard (though a AAA start to the season would be good for him, I think). How bout it folks? Who should stay and who should go?