clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What Can We Expect from Pomeranz in the Red Sox Uniform?

Pomeranz's first start in the Red Sox uniform was a rough one, but what can we expect from the 27-year-old late boomer for the rest of the season?

Whether he likes it or not, this is Pomeranz's new home.
Whether he likes it or not, this is Pomeranz's new home.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Pomeranz has been an easy profit for anybody who acquired his service sometime this year. We all knew that his value was about to take a hit when he was traded to the Red Sox, but his first start in his new team was beyond everybody's expectation (3 IP 5 ER).

Poor thing. It took him three years to escape from the Coors and two years to battle through injuries in Oakland, and now, as soon as he shows a glimpse of a breakout season, the former first rounder is back in the hitter's heaven.

The Petco Park isn't what it used to be, but it's still pretty pitcher friendly (Park Factor 95). Also except few brutal trips to his hometown in the Rocky Mountains (117), he gets to visit other welcoming places like AT&T Park (92) and the Dodgers Stadium (96) (The Chase Field's PF is 104, but the D-Backs offense only produces 4.4 run / game, which is right about the league average). Now, he plays half of his game at stadium with the third highest park factor (105), and his neighborhoods are surrounded by bunch of tennis courts (Orioles 103, Blue Jays 102, Yankees 101, and Tampa Bay 96).

So we all knew that Fenway wasn't the best place for him to print pretty numbers, but we have to dig little deeper than that. The main reason for Pomeranz's success this season has been not only his improved K rate (10.2 K/9), but also his ability to limit the line drives. His 16 LD% is the second lowest in the league (Hector Santiago 13.7%), and that explains his low BABIP (.253 8th lowest).

Limiting line drives is mostly a pitcher's responsibility, but he can't completely control how the batted balls travel as they leave a hitter's bat, and the Fenway turns the regular fly balls into line drives more than any place except the infamous Coors (Coors LD Park Factor: 107, Fenway: 105, Petco: 99). This partially explains how every Red Sox hitter is hitting with extremely high batting averages, and why David Price has been struggling to lower his ERA this season.

David Price's Batted Ball Profile










Red Sox





Can you see how 5% of his fly balls turned into line drives, and his BABIP jumped accordingly? The Fenway probably isn't the only reason he is struggling this year, but we can't ignore its effect. Price's career ERA and FIP lines up perfectly at 3.20 and 3.21, but this year, he is having difficulty in bringing down his 4.36 ERA to match his 3.39 FIP (if you want to read more about the Park Factor and line drives, take a look at my Tyler Anderson article).

Pomeranz is currently putting up 3.38 FIP, which is 0.5 higher than his current 2.83 ERA. In general, FIP-ERA gap is very highly correlated with one's BABIP and Left on Base%, and Pomeranz has been benefiting from both categories (low BABIP .253 and high LOB 80%). His walk ratio isn't elite (3.69), so he does tend to pile up quite a few base runners. Once he starts to allow hits at a higher rate, his ERA could balloon a lot quicker than we have anticipated.

Of course he should benefit from few more wins, but those also could be little shaky as the entire Red Sox bullpen is hospitalized at this moment. Pomeranz averages 5.8 IP/G this year, so the thin bullpen could definitely factor into his decisions. Even without the classic injury concern, maybe this is the time to fetch an offer for your precious breakout pick of the year.

Rest of the Season Steamer Projection

SP Rank