The Red Sox rotation has struggled in June and desperately needs some help. Eduardo Rodriguez looked disinterested and pitched terribly on Monday, leading to his demotion to AAA Pawtucket and opening a spot in the rotation. The Red Sox need to acquire a starter if they want to compete for a playoff spot this year, but it appears the trade market has not yet begun to really heat up and the price for a top tier starter will be astronomical. In the mean time, the Red Sox need to fill the rotation slot and one name keeps bubbling to the surface: RHP Aaron Wilkerson.
Wilkerson is a fairly unknown commodity for most Red Sox fans. He turned 27 in late May and hails from Fort Worth, Texas (we all know how much the Red Sox love their pitchers from Texas – i.e. Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, etc.). Wilkerson spent 2013 and 2014 playing independent league ball before joining the Red Sox minor league system. The 6’3″ 190 lb starter began his time with the Red Sox in low-A Lowell in 2014 and then quickly moved up the ranks to A Greenville, high-A Salem and AA Portland in 2015.
He began 2016 in AA Portland and was promoted to AAA Pawtucket after just 8 starts. In 16 starts (and 1 relief appearance) combined between Portland and Pawtucket, Wilkerson is 6-2 with a 2.00 ERA and 97Ks in 85.1 innings. His Ks/9 ratio is 10.9 and has a 4.04 K/BB ratio, both impressive numbers. He has turned some heads and certainly is making a strong case for getting his first shot at a major league rotation.
The stars seem to be aligning for Wilkerson, as his slot in the rotation mirrors E-Rods, so he could be called up to pitch Sunday or Monday on normal rest. He’s not the Red Sox savior, but could provide a nice boost to the back-end of the rotation.