I’ve made no secret that I don’t think Daniel Bard will be an effective starter for the Boston Red Sox. Earlier there was heavy speculation that Bard would return to the bullpen, but the Red Sox have decided to go in a different direction. As Brian McPherson reported Daniel Bard will officially be named the fifth starter. Felix Doubront also won a spot in the rotation, forcing Alfredo Aceves back to the bullpen.
Realistically the situation isn’t very ideal for the Red Sox. The three pitchers fighting for a spot in the rotation are much better suited to the bullpen, but given the lack of quality alternatives the Red Sox had to put two of them in the rotation. In theory there is no harm in trying to use Bard in the rotation, and hoping that his improved control will make him a better starter than he was in the minors. Bard was putting up ERA’s between 6 and 10 while attempting to start, which is what forced the Red Sox to use him in the bullpen in the first place. However, his numbers during the spring haven’t put those concerns to rest, as he posted a 6.57 ERA while walking 16 and striking out 18. Bard hasn’t been the same since the end of August, as he also struggled with his command in September when he walked 11 and struck out 9 in 11 innings.
Doubront was slightly more successful during the spring, posting a 2.70 ERA with a somewhat alarming 10 to 6 strikeout to walk ratio. Marc Hulet of Fangraphs argued that Doubront’s upside was that of a LOOGY, which isn’t inspiring for Red Sox Nation. And while Aceves posted an ugly 5.50 ERA, at least he was able to strike out 15 hitters while only walking 3.
Boston made the right decision picking the two younger players with upside to start in the rotation. However, if Bard can’t successfully make the transition to starting, the Red Sox will be in for a very long season.