2016 Outlook: One does not need a Price pun to describe how well the lefty has pitched in his career. He has missed just a handful of starts in his career but has otherwise been getting better with age and pitched his way to his huge payday this winter as a free agent. He piles up strikeouts while rarely walking batters and excels in the ratio categories. Run support has not been a problem since he left Tampa Bay and that is likely to continue with the well-rounded Red Sox lineup behind him. He should also have a very strong bullpen to help get him off the hook when he is lifted from the latter stages of games. Price is still pitching with an elite fastball and keeps batters honest with the cutter and the changeup, and owners should expect similar dominance in 2016. After all, Price has historically pitched very well in Fenway and is intimately familiar with the other venues in the American League East. Come on down!
2016 Outlook: Rodriguez earned a late May spot start after pitching well at Triple-A Pawtucket. The southpaw took full advantage, allowing only three hits to the Texas Rangers over 7.2 shutout innings in Arlington. This effort earned him a regular turn for the rest of the season. Rodriguez's floor is a mid-rotation innings eater with a league-average strikeout rate, good control and a groundball tilt. However, there are two encouraging reports that tease an intriguing ceiling. Rodriguez was apparently tipping his pitches, spending the offseason successfully correcting that flaw. Additionally, he spent a lot of time honing his secondary offerings to complement his 95-mph fastball, most notably his slider and introducing a cutter in an effort to better handle left-handed hitters, who slugged an eye-popping .509 against Rodriguez in his rookie campaign.
2016 Outlook: Buchholz entered 2015 as the ace of Boston's rotation, and he pitched like one for much of the season. The right-hander had a decent first half of the season, with a 7-7 record, 3.26 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He also had an outstanding 4.65 K/BB ratio, thanks mostly to his impeccable control shown through his 1.8 BB/9, an outstanding 0.5 HR/9 and a 2.74 FIP. Despite all of these numbers pointing toward a good year, Buchholz was shut down halfway through the season due to elbow issues. Thankfully there was no ligament damage, so Buchholz should have a clean bill of health heading into 2016. That said, he has had some durability issues in the past, which makes him a bit of a risky pick going forward. He is best suited for shallower leagues where competent replacements are available on the waiver wire for when he likely misses time.
2016 Outlook: Boston's old front office regime has taken its fair share of lumps from fans and media for signing Porcello to a four-year, $82.5 million extension on Opening Day after acquiring him from Detroit in an offseason deal. And yes, 2015 was a forgettable year for Porcello, whose 4.92 ERA was the fourth-worst among qualified starters, but not all hope is lost for the years ahead. The right-hander was much better following his return from a triceps injury late in the season, posting a 3.14 ERA in his final eight starts. He attributes the turnaround to a return to a sinker-heavy approach which resulted in a lot more weak contact -- he threw the sinker almost half the time down the stretch compared to roughly 34 percent of the time before the DL stint. The strikeouts were up as well, following his return, with Porcello fanning seven or more batters in five of his final seven outings. 2015 is the downside, but it's hard to imagine Porcello struggling to that extent again so long as he sticks to what works for him.
2016 Outlook: A solid season with Triple-A Pawtucket helped Owens earn his much-anticipated major league debut in early August. In 11 starts with the big club, the southpaw went 4-4 while posting a 4.37 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He had some control issues similar to his times in the minor leagues, as he walked 3.4 batters per nine innings. Owens also was unable to replicate his gaudy strikeout numbers in the majors, as his K/9 dipped to 7.1 after posting a 10.4 mark in 2014 with Triple-A Pawtucket. The 23-year-old has some development to do, as he is adding a slider to his current fastball-changeup-curveball repertoire. He is a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation for the upcoming season, but it is possible the Red Sox will opt to give him more seasoning in the minors so he can try to improve his control.
2016 Outlook: Kelly's average fastball velocity jumped to a career-best 95.3 mph last year, but his overall numbers did nothing to suggest his stuff was anything other than mediocre. He managed to post a 2.35 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 46 innings over his final eight starts of the season, so perhaps he figured something out down the stretch. It is unclear if he will be able to crack Boston's rotation out of camp, so the price on draft day will be even lower than it was prior to 2015. Starters with Kelly's velocity are tough to give up on for fantasy owners and major league teams alike, but this is probably his last chance to show that he can be a quality big league starter.
2016 Outlook: Elias lost the battle for a big league roster spot out of spring training last season, instead beginning the year struggling as a starter with Triple-A Tacoma. Injuries eventually opened up a space in the big league rotation, where he had a mostly mediocre 2015 campaign, working to a 4.14 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 22 appearances (20 starts). As part of the return package that brought Wade Miley to Seattle, Elias was dealt to Boston, where he'll be tasked with making the transition from one of the more pitcher-friendly parks to a relatively hitter-friendly one. The lefty should get the chance to compete for a spot at the back-end of the rotation out of spring training, but it's also possible the club deploys him as another left-handed relief option.