The Boston Red Sox made a blockbuster trade in 2012 by getting rid of bloated contracts, underwhelming players and a huge amount of payroll off the books. Quite frankly, if that was all that happened to Boston, that would have been enough. But amazingly, the Los Angeles Dodgers gave the Red Sox two quality prospects. One of them was Rubby De La Rosa.
In 2011, De La Rosa was a top-100 prospect in the MLB and had four wins and five losses to go with a 3.71 ERA. Things appeared very promising for the right-hander until he had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and missed most of that year. He was still recovering when he was traded to Boston. De La Rosa really has electric stuff. He has a fastball that has been clocked at about 100 mph, a very good changeup and a decent slider.
One of his issues has been control, and it showed in Pawtucket last year and the appearances that he made in Boston. The Red Sox monitored his innings in the beginning of the season and he fatigued as 2013 went on. He had no wins, two losses and a 5.56 ERA in 11 appearances with the Red Sox — not particularly noteworthy for a pitching prospect, but understandable given the health situation.
He is now a few years removed from the surgery, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he threw harder than he did before. Many pitchers who have had the same surgery have noticed a rise in their velocity. He tends to project more as a reliever, and that could be where he thrives. If his control were a little better, he could be knocking on Boston’s door as a potential starter.
De La Rosa is heading into Spring Training completely healthy, and could make an impact and force some decisions. He has been working with a former pitcher helping him grow and learn about his craft. He has been compared to this pitcher a few times. You may have heard of him: someone named Pedro Martinez. If De La Rosa becomes half the pitcher Martinez was, that trade will just look better and better every year, and it already looks pretty good right now.
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