The Boston Red Sox made a major move to acquire an All-Star pitcher Thursday, but as is the case with nearly every trade, it comes with both pros and cons.
Left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz, whom the Red Sox acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, comes to Boston toting the fourth-lowest ERA (2.47) of any starter in Major League Baseball.
Yet there are concerns surrounding the 27-year-old hurler, among them a change in scenery: Pomeranz is moving from the National League West and one of baseball’s most pitcher-friendly stadiums in Petco Park to the cramped Fenway Park and the offense-happy American League East, which boasts some of the scariest lineups in baseball.
It appears president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Co. have done their research, however. Pomeranz, who spent two seasons with the Oakland Athletics in 2014 and 2015, has pretty favorable career numbers against AL East opponents, albeit in mostly small sample sizes.
Here are Pomeranz’s career numbers against all five AL East clubs, per Baseball Reference:
Red Sox: 5 G, 12 IP, 9 K, 4 BB, 2.25 ERA, 0.92 WHIP
Baltimore Orioles: 3 G, 4 2/3 IP, 10 K, 0 BB, 1.93 ERA, 0.43 WHIP
New York Yankees: 3 G, 16 IP, 14 K, 1 BB, 1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
Tampa Bay Rays: 2 G, 5 2/3 IP, 4 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
Toronto Blue Jays: 3 G, 7 1/3 IP, 9 K, 5 BB, 4.91 ERA, 1.64 WHIP
Again, we realize these all are very small sample sizes. But the fact that Pomeranz has pitched well against AL East opponents — he held the Yankees to one run over seven innings on July 2 — still is a positive.
“I realize it’s a little bit different division that he’s jumping into — we all know that,” Dombrowski said in a conference call with reporters Thursday night. “But that would be for anybody acquired, and we think he has good enough stuff to handle it.”
A former fifth overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, Pomeranz has struggled to find consistent success in the bigs — his 102 innings pitched this season already are a career high. But the Red Sox believe Pomeranz finally has come into his own and is ready to help Boston compete for a playoff spot.
“He has a premium curveball, so he’s thrown that more,” Dombrowski said. “He’s really changed his pitch mix. He’s throwing his four-seam fastball much more, and he’s added the cutter. So, it’s really the combination of, as he’s matured now, just getting a better feel of how to use his stuff.”
“A lot of times, you have to follow these things,” Dombrowski added. “He was one of the best pitching prospects in baseball half a dozen years ago or so. Sometimes these things take a while. I’ve seen that happen.”
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images