Clay Buchholz, Red Sox: Buchholz was named Red Sox pitcher of the year by the Boston baseball writers at this year’s awards ceremony, but that’s not saying much on a staff that posted a 48-72 mark with a combined 5.19 ERA. The 27-year-old Buchholz went 11-8 with a 4.56 ERA, pitching a career high 189 innings in 2012. The hope is that Buchholz’s back issues are behind him and he can revert to the form that had him in Cy Young contention in 2010, when he finished 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA.
Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees: Kuroda surprised many with his 16-11 record with a 3.32 ERA in his first season with the Yankees in 2012 with little run support. The Japanese-born righthander, who will be 38 on Opening Day, will be expected to give the Yankees more than 200 innings again in the No. 2 spot in the rotation.
The edge: Red Sox. While Kuroda has proven he can pitch in the American League, Buchholz looks like he’s back on track this year and could be a Cy Young candidate.