Welcome to BP Boston’s second annual Roster Recap series. Over the next few months, we’ll be analyzing every player on Boston’s 40-man roster and many of their top prospects in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the Red Sox roster’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as what we can expect moving forward. From MVP-candidate right fielders to reserve relievers, we want to give you a look at every Red Sox who might matter in 2017. View the complete list of Roster Recaps here. Enjoy!
There’s a certain string of emotions when watching sports that everyone has experienced. It’s the general “sinking stone” feeling. Your team gets out to a lead, and sure, it’s a bit shaky. You convince yourself that it’ll be okay, that the feeling is just fleeting. As if some deity heard you, everything goes bad the moment you do that. Your heart drops into your foot. It’s pure, unadulterated carnage, but you can’t stop watching. You’ve already accepted defeat and the game’s not even halfway over. Your eyes glaze over and you wish for it to end. (Eat at Arby’s.)
The Red Sox used newly-acquired Roenis Elias as a starter for one game. Go back to that last paragraph, start from “Your heart drops…”, and re-read it from there. You have now encapsulated that one start. Congratulations!
What Went Right In 2016
Literally nothing. He is a cautionary tale in what happens when you need your tenth-best starter to pitch.
Okay, maybe not nothing, but if I’m looking for a silver lining here, he at least resembled a starting pitcher in Pawtucket. Compared to the next segment, that’s pretty okay.
What Went Wrong In 2016
From the start, it was bad.
He started three games in Spring Training and turned in one decent start. He was optioned to Triple-A at the end of March, as he had no shot to make the rotation at that point. The Red Sox called him up for some bullpen help on April 22nd. The next day, the Houston Astros scored three runs off of him over 1.2 innings. Elias was sent down the day afterwards to make room for Henry Owens. Yeah. That was a thing.
Elias was then called up on June 17th to make that one fateful start against his former team, the Seattle Mariners. Here’s how Franklin Gutierrez greeted him:
Park attendants are still looking for that second home run ball. As you can expect, he was sent back down again soon after.
Third time wasn’t really the charm for Elias, as the next time he was called up, he allowed a run over two innings while facing the Arizona Diamondbacks. Not as bad as his last two outings, but still ineffective. Nine batters faced, four hits, no strikeouts, no walks. Sigh.
The Red Sox opted to go with Owens and even Sean O’Sullivan as their spot starter over Elias several times in 2016. Combine that with Carson Smith needing Tommy John surgery, and you’ve got a Wade Miley trade that did very little for either team in 2016. Not great, Bob!
What To Expect in 2017
He’s not this bad. Probably. Elias has done better in the majors before and he’s flashed limited strikeout potential. His ceiling isn’t high, but the most you can expect from him is a spot-start or two and some long relief appearances when the bullpen’s gassed. He’ll first have to be a better pitcher than Owens or even O’Sullivan if he wants to get a decent amount of innings, and if we’re being fair here, that bar isn’t set particularly high. If he can’t, he’s only a passable LOOGY that’s stuck behind Robby Scott. It’s a hard-knock life for starting pitcher depth.
Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images