The Boston Red Sox signed Ryan Dempster to a two-year, $26.5 million contract this past offseason in hopes of bolstering their starting rotation for the 2013 Major League Baseball season. How has the right-hander held up so far in Spring Training?
Dempster is projected to be the fifth starter in the rotation for Boston this season. He should be a great addition as it is always a good thing when a team can have a talented veteran as the anchor of the starting five.
Many Red Sox fans were worried when the team decided to spend so much money on the 35-year-old, considering his numbers have been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride the past few seasons. The problem with the 15-year veteran is that Boston is hoping they signed the 5-5 record and 2.25 earned run average pitcher from the first half of last season, but they could have very well acquired the 7-3, 5.09 ERA pitcher who finished up 2012 with the Texas Rangers. The seven wins are misleading, considering Dempster had the best offense in the majors giving him run support.
Dempster has yet to disappoint this spring and appears to be comfortable on the mound. He is pitching with the same confidence that he did with the Chicago Cubs last year and his solid performances reflect that. He is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, six strikeouts and 8 2/3 innings in three starts. He has yet to surrender a walk and kept hitters down to a .188 batting average.
One of the big reasons the Red Sox signed Dempster is because of his superior ability to eat up innings. He has tossed at least 200 innings in four of the past five seasons and is looking forward to doing the same for Boston this year. Another reason the Red Sox are big on him is that he gets a lot of ground balls, something that will be useful at Fenway Park, and he has improved his walk numbers over the years (2.7 BB/9 in 2012).
It is good to see that Dempster is right on cue this spring as he prepares himself for a journey like none other in the American League East.