Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 Starting Rotation Preview: Clay Buchholz

WOW. Buchholz was Casey Fossum skinny as a rookie.

In 2007, the Red Sox brought up a highly touted prospect to start games by the name of Clay Buchholz. Everyone had been talking about Buchholz as the next big thing for the past year or so, so the anticipation was high. Buchholz did not disappoint. In just his second big league start, he tossed a no-hitter. I remember watching that game, and thinking to myself just how great this guy can be. His stuff was unreal that night.

Since that rookie year, which he only pitched in four games, Buchholz has had an up and down career. He has struggled with emotional problems, and that is part of the reason his 2008 and 2009 were not up to par. In those seasons, his average ERA was around 5 and he only pitched in 16 games each year. However, last year Buchholz had a coming out party of sorts. Last year was the year Buchholz finally realized that potential, and took advantage of the stuff he exhibited in that no-hitter. 

2010 included his first All Star appearance as well as a 6th place on the Cy Young ballot. He turned out to be a great number 2 pitcher behind ace Jon Lester, and that duo should be in place for years to come. Last season, the numbers he put up were fantastic. He had an ERA of 2.33 (that's an incredible ERA), to go along with his 17-7 record and 1.20 WHIP. The most encouraging thing about his numbers last year was that he was able to do it over 28 games. We had never seen him last an entire year before, so being that effective over the marathon that is the MLB regular season is highly encouraging. This year, Buchholz will turn 27, and be confident coming off the huge year before. However, since he has been so inconsistent over his career, I hesitate to think he could have a repeat performance. Here are my season predictions.

2.87 ERA, 16-9, 135 K, 30 GS, 4.9 WAR

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