The Boston Red Sox acquired pitcher Rubby De La Rosa in a deal on Oct. 4 of last year to complete the trade that sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. De La Rosa is one of Boston’s top prospects and could even crack the opening day roster.
The 23-year-old Dominican Republic native has appeared at least once in Major League Baseball in each of the past two seasons. In 2011, he pitched in 13 games (10 starts) in which he went 4-5 with a 3.71 earned run average, 60 strikeouts, one hold and one blown save in 60 2/3 innings. He also managed to strike out 8.90 batters per nine innings and posted a 1.94 strikeout to walk ratio. This past season he only saw action in one game due to Tommy John Surgery that he underwent in August of 2011. In that game, he surrendered two earned runs in two thirds of an inning.
Even though De La Rosa has had some struggles in the big leagues, the Red Sox believe the right-hander could be a reliever as soon as the 2013 season, and they also have confidence that he will become a member of the starting rotation in the near future.
His 95 MPH average fastball is one of the best in the business and his outstanding repertoire of pitches also includes a slider, curveball and changeup. De La Rosa prefers to stay on the outside of the strike zone, away from both left-handed and right-handed batters, which is one of the reasons he has a high strikeout rate. However, because he has such an incredible fastball, he sometimes relies on it too much (72 percent of the time) which could cause him some trouble against the league’s top hitters.
If De La Rosa can stay healthy, something he has struggled with in the past, he will be a starter in no time. For the time being, the Red Sox will probably try to stick him in the bullpen just so he can get used to playing in the difficult American League East division. I personally would not be surprised to see him take the spot of Alfredo Aceves (2-10, 5.36 ERA) or Andrew Bailey (1-1, 7.04 ERA) in the bullpen, assuming he has a proper showing in spring training.