Saturday, March 22, 2008

Buchholz: Fuggedaboutit

Yes, Red Sox younger players have spoiled Sox fans over the past few years.
  • Papelbon, one of the top 3 closers in the AL (Putz, Papelbon, Rivera)
  • Pedroia, Rookie of the Year
  • Ellsbury, playoff and World Series catalyst
  • Lester, World Series clincher and inspirational health story
  • Youkilis, Gold Glove and productive Moneyball player
  • Matsuzaka (well he was an MLB rookie)
  • Okajima (ditto)
  • Hanley Ramirez, well he was our guy
So expectations for Clay Buchholz are high, particular as the duo of Buchholz and Lester inevitably will receive comparison to the Bombers Hughes, Chamberlain, and others. First, Buchholz isn't going to win 20 this season. Johan Santana might not either, even with 32 starts, and the handicap of being pinch hit for in the National League. Second, there will be rough spots for Buchholz, days where his fastball command suffers, or he can't get the 'feel' on that 12 to 6 curve, especially with the frigid Boston spring.

So we have choices.
  • Support him through the growing process, realizing the potential of a pitching prodigy with a pair of plus pitches (curve, changeup) and a very good fastball that can still pitch to contact.
  • Wring our hands every time he struggles, with command or poise, or major league hitters get the better of him (happens to everyone).
I'm for giving the kid plenty of leeway, with oversight from the coaches and mentoring from the veterans. We don't have to eat our young, this ain't Loserville, and the 'negativity' era may not have vanished, but it has lessened.

We may never see this again, but even some reasonably facsimiles would be enough.

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