Boston Red Sox: 2012 Starting Rotation Projection

Brian Roach@BrianRoachJrCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2012

Boston Red Sox: 2012 Starting Rotation Projection

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    The Boston Red Sox have been signing several veteran pitchers to minor league deals and Daisuke Matsuzaka should be back at some point during the 2012 season.

    However, the Red Sox still need to decide who the fourth and fifth starters will be in 2012 and that will have to be settled in spring training. Aaron Cook, Carlos Silva, Daniel Bard and Vicente Padilla will all be battling it out for those two spots. Who knows, maybe some minor league talent will impress during spring training!

Honorable Mentions

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    Daisuke Matsuzaka:

    Matsuzaka will get some starts whenever he returns after Tommy John surgery. After only starting seven games in 2011, he will look to prove himself worthy of the starting rotation with the Boston Red Sox. 

    Vicente Padilla:

    Padilla has not pitched since last June and is moving to the AL from the NL. He will struggle whenever he makes a start, and he will most likely be used out of the bullpen by the Red Sox for the majority of the 2012 season.

    Carlos Silva:

    Silva will only be used if the other starters are not healthy in 2012 and the Red Sox will use him as a last resort. Maybe he could get called up in September, but he won't really be a big factor in 2012.

1. Jon Lester

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    Jon Lester will be the ace of the Boston Red Sox pitching staff in 2012. After missing several starts in 2011, he will look to improve his game and get over that 200 inning mark after only going 191 2/3 innings in 2011.

    Lester will stop the long skids, if the Red Sox do have any long losing streaks. He will be in the running for the Cy Young Award and will have over 20 wins and his ERA will be below 3.00. He will get the Opening Day start and will dominate over the first few months and show everyone that he can be an ace of such a beloved franchise.

2. Josh Beckett

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    Josh Beckett will be a solid No. 2 starter in the MLB. His 2011 campaign was great, as he finished 13-7 with an ERA of 2.89. This was after a dreadful 2010 campaign that was filled with injury and games where he got pounded by the New York Yankees.

    In 2012, Beckett will come into spring training with the goal of losing more weight and staying in shape the entire season. He does not want to breakdown in September when the Boston Red Sox need him the most.

3. Clay Buchholz

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    Clay Buchholz's last start came in June 2011 after dealing with a back issue that put him out of commission. He finished 2011 going 6-3 in 14 starts for the Boston Red Sox before missing the last three and a half months of the season.

    The key for Buchholz is stating healthy. If he can get 26 or more starts, then the Red Sox will have one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in all of baseball.

4. Daniel Bard

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    Daniel Bard is going to be stretched out this spring training and will be a viable force in the Boston Red Sox's rotation in 2012.

    Bard just needs to dial down his fastball a bit in order to last five or six innings and not try to overthrow or just throw fastballs while he is on the mound. His 2-9 record in 2011 was not very good as a reliever, but his 3.33 ERA would be a great asset for the starting rotation.

    The only problem with Bard is that he has never started in the majors and when he started in the minors he was not that good. However, in spring training he will earn this spot and could get 10-plus wins in 2012 as a starter.

5. Aaron Cook

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    Aaron Cook will need to work hard to make this fifth spot for the Boston Red Sox in 2012, but he will pull through and will show everyone he deserves it.

    It is always hard to tell who will be a good starter for a club at any given time, but Cook has all the skills to pitch, but did not show it much in 2011 after returning from injury. He went 3-10 with a 6.03 ERA.

    His best year came in 2008 when he went 16-9 with a 3.96 ERA. Any Sox fan would be happy if the fifth starter had an ERA below 4.00 and at least 12 wins.