When I look through the Sox starting rotation, I know that I should feel pretty good about the guys they have. Look at the names: Beckett, Lackey, Lester, Buchholz, Matsuzaka. Throw into the equation that spring training starts literally mean nothing, and what are you left with? Gut feeling and that is all.
Having Matsuzaka as your number 5 guy is impressive. Was he good last year? For a number 5, he was fine. You'd like to see more innings from him, but 9-6 with a mid-4's ERA is not terrible. Again...for a number 5. And does last year's performance mean anything this year? Not really. The Sox have made some tweaks in his regimen. Now it is wait and see.
Lester has developed into one of the premiere left-handers in the game. He's the one guy the Sox can hang their hat on.
Buchholz emerged last year as the clear number two in the Sox rotation. But, like Dice-K, he is still an unknown.
The clearest part of this puzzle is that the Sox need more from Beckett. Lackey, despite local criticism, had a typical Lackey year. I think, with his associated price tag and previous playoff hype, Sox fans expected a number 1 when he arrived. But, Beckett's season last year was abysmal by Beckett standards. He hasn't had a great spring training, either. But, as stated above, spring training means nothing. The Sox can't have another year of 6-6 with an ERA near 6 if they expect to make a series run. The need a healthy Beckett.
This rotation could go either way. It has the potential to be the deepest in the majors. It also has the potential to be middle of the pack.