It’s not a secret that Drew Pomeranz isn’t exactly popular amongst Red Sox fans. He was acquired from San Diego last July, and hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s been a complete failure. Fans have been calling for his demotion to the bullpen since last September. While that’s obviously no longer too realistic given the lack of depth the Red Sox have in the rotation, it’s probably not where Pomeranz is best suited. He’s not going to contend for a Cy Young Award anytime soon, but he’s no slouch.
Drew Pomeranz struggles to go deep into games. We knew that last July, we knew that this offseason, and we know that now. He’s completed at least six innings in just 10 of his 26 starts in a Red Sox uniform, and is averaging a pathetic 5.13 innings per start this season. While that is certainly less than ideal, its impact is softened by the fact that he is currently pitching on the day after Chris Sale, who has thrown the most innings in the MLB. Following up Sale means that the bullpen, which has been the strength of the ball club, is rested and ready to go 4 or more innings. Pom is never going to be an innings eater, but that doesn’t make him useless.
Efficiency aside, Pomeranz’ biggest struggle has been limiting the longball. He has allowed at least one home run in 20 of his 26 starts with the Red Sox. However, it really hasn’t been as big of an issue as you might think. His 1.49 HR/9 ranks 23rd worst out of 85 qualified pitchers. While that certainly isn’t anything to write home about, it isn’t too atrocious. He’s actually been very good at limiting damage on his home runs. 8 of the 11 big flies that he has surrendered have been solo shots, with the other two being 2-run homers. Here’s a friendly reminder that Curt Schilling lead the MLB in HRs allowed in 2001 and was still the Cy Young runner up; Drew Pomeranz definitely isn’t a Hall of Fame talent, but the point is that it’s a flaw that can be overcome.
Pomeranz’ overall body of work is very solid; he owns a 4.19 ERA, 4.04 FIP, and a very impressive 10.40 K/9, the eighth highest rate in baseball. Don’t worry anti-advanced stat group, I’ve got something for you too. He’s made 13 starts this year, and only allowed more than 2 runs three times. If you’re not great at math, that means that he’s departed 10 of his 13 games after putting his team in a good position to win the game. That’s 77%. Drew Pomeranz isn’t an ace, but he’s a damn good number 4 or 5 starter, which isn’t at all a bad thing.