The Red Sox Starters: Who’s the Ace?

The 2015 season brings a new starting rotation for the Red Sox with one returning pitcher in Clay Buchholz, some new faces in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Joe Kelly, and an old friend in Justin Masterson. Ian York offers an innovative visual way of looking what each player throws.

Visualizing Success – A step-by-step rundown and a basic primer in how to use these innovative graphics and extensive information contained in these new pitching plots.

Click on each player to see the full breakdown of his stuff, complete with strike zone visuals and animated pitch plots.

Clay Buchholz – In general, Buchholz does not have overpowering individual pitches and depends on location for effectiveness. His two-seamer and curve can be effective in the bottom of the zone, but too often left them up in 2014.


Rick Porcello – Porcello is a ground ball pitcher who uses a mix of his four-seam and two-seam fastballs. He managed to avoid very hard contact in 2014, probably because his two-seam fastball starts out looking  similar to the four-seam, but moves very differently, making it difficult to predict where any individual pitch will end up.


Wade Miley – Another primarily four- and two-seam fastball groundball pitcher, the left-handed Miley mixes in an occasional slider and a change used almost exclusively against RHB. Unlike Porcello, Miley takes advantage of the bottom of the strike zone with both his four-seam and, especially, with his two-seam fastball.


Joe Kelly – Kelly has the best pure stuff among the Red Sox starters. He throws a dynamic fastball with heat and dramatic movement that is tough on hitters when he throws it for strikes. At times, though, he has trouble finding the zone.



Justin Masterson – Masterson’s most common pitches ‒ the sinker and four-seam fastball ‒ were hit hard when thrown in the strike zone in 2014. There’s room for optimism, though, as Masterson’s sinker and slider, even with the reduced velocity associated with his injuries in 2014, posed difficulties for hitters when properly located, and he maintained a high ground-ball percentage.


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