Control is Kyle Hendrick’s specialty. Pitching in front of one of the best defenses in baseball doesn’t hurt either. The reigning World Champion Chicago Cubs and Hendricks seem to be the perfect fit. Kyle led all of baseball in 2016 with a 2.13 ERA, and was second only to Max Scherzer in WHIP last year. While those numbers might be hard to match, Hendricks win total will improve from last year’s 16, and he should reach the 20 win mark in 2017.
2016 was a sub par season for the Red Sox closer, recording only 31 saves with a career high 3.40 ERA. In spring training his focus has been on mechanics and consistency with his delivery. Last season’s control problems also led to a career high of 30 walks in just 53 innings of work. A rebound season is expected for Kimbrel, since he has averaged 43 saves over his first 6 seasons as a member of the Braves, Padres and Red Sox.
It feels like Rick Porcello has been around for a long time. However he is only 28 years old, and last year was already his 8th year as a starting big league pitcher. He’s been a solid starter throughout his career, and he’s had only two sub 4.00 ERA seasons prior to 2016. Last season was an absolute gem, and he amassed a 22-4 record, and a 3.15 ERA for the Boston Red Sox. He also had a career low in walks with 32, and a career high in K’s with 189. The Red Sox have high hopes for Porcello, having named him 2017’s Opening Day starter.
Closing pitchers don’t often get Cy Young consideration. But in 2016, Zach Britton garnered enough votes to finish in 5th place in the AL vote. Since becoming the Orioles closer in 2014, Britton has collected 120 saves. 47 of those saves came last season, and he didn’t blow a single one. Zach allowed only 4 earned runs, resulting in a stellar 0.54 ERA, and a 0.84 WHIP. He should be near the top of the saves leader board for the foreseeable future.
2016 was a breakout year for Aaron Sanchez. In his first full season as a starting pitcher for the Blue Jays, Sanchez posted a 15-2 record over 30 starts with a 3.00 ERA. In his first 3 years in the majors, the 24 year old has excelled, whether pitching out of the bullpen or out of the starting rotation. Sanchez is a All Star in the making, possessing a plus fastball, and very good command.