Baseball is finally here. Everyone is ready to dedicate themselves for the grind that is the baseball year. While Spring Training can hold people off, many are fiending for the season to start. We're right there with you. May we suggest some player previews to help you cope until then?
2010 Stats: 173.2 IP, 17-7, 2.33 ERA, 1.203 WHIP, 120 K, 6.9 WARP
2011 PECOTA Projections (via Baseball Prospectus): 11-8, 152 IP, 126 K, 3.65 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.8 WARP
2011 Ted's Army Projections: 190 IP, 17-8, 2.80 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 145 K
Clay Buchholz is coming off the best season of his young career where he shocked the world with stellar pitching and finished 6th in the AL Cy Young voting. Buchholz quickly moved from the 5th spot in the rotation to at some points, called the Ace of the staff.
Clay was consistent all year long, even after he suffered the hyperextended knee against the Giants in June. He proved it was not a factor by winning 5 of his seven following starts. Clay put together two five game winning streaks in May-June and July-August, while never losing more than two starts in a row.
So what about 2011? He may have found his way and comfort zone to pitch effectively and consistenly. Baseball Prospectus makes it obvious that they think last year was a fluke and his numbers are projected to go way down. When you will be pitching with a lineup that is stacked, the wins will be more plentiful and the pen should be able to get more holds. I highly expect him to pitch deep into games, due to the fact he pitched at least 7 innings in 13 of his starts last season.
Game of the Year:
May 21, 2011: After Jon Lester gets into a shouting match in Japanese with Fukodome, Clay Buchholz follows with a gem on national tv going 8 strong with 10 K's. Cubs fans will then realize, so early in the season that, once again, this is not their season.
At 26-years-old, has Clay Buchholz figured it all out and will have the stuff he had last year? He needs to work his pitches effectively, and needs to utilize his good breaking pitches and very effective changeup. With a lot of questions hovering around the rotation, the Red Sox need him not miss a beat from 2010 and be a very solid #2 starter.