January 21, 2007

FEATS OF CLAY:

Buchholz on fast track (Maureen Mullen, January 20, 2007, Boston Herald)

Despite having just 39 professional games under his belt, the accolades are beginning to roll in for Clay Buchholz.

The 22-year-old lefty was named the Red Sox [team stats] minor league pitcher of the year for 2006 and recently was ranked by Baseball America as the organization's No. 2 prospect as well as its pitcher with the best curveball. [...]

"I just want to go into spring training ready," said Buchholz, who compiled a record of 11-4, with a 2.42 ERA between Single-A Greenville and Wilmington. Buchholz led all Sox minor leaguers with 140 strikeouts, an average of 10.6 per nine innings, while holding opponents to a .208 average. [...]

Buchholz, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound Texan drafted with the team's third pick in 2005 out of Angelina Junior College in Lufkin, Texas, possesses a mid-90s fastball backed by a sharp 12-to-6 curveball, slider and changeup.

The Sox would like to see him throw that fastball for first-pitch strikes more consistently.


Kind of odd, for those of us who'd like nothing better than to throw 95mph, that youngsters so often have to be taught to throw their fastball more at the major league level.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 21, 2007 8:33 AM
Comments

That he was the pitcher of the year says more about the weakness of the Sawx system than anything else. Indeed, he's on the fast track b/c there's no one in front of him in that system.

I suspect that like Lester and Hansen last year, he'll be rushed into the majors early this season once the Sawx realize they can't compete with NY with what they've got. Another dl stint for the aging knuckler, a bloated Schilling getting pounded, a dl stint for Bye-Bye Becks for whiplash from watching his ball rocket out of the Fens . . .

Francona was at the NC/GaTech game last night. I guess he has a daughter who's a Heel. Asked about Dice-K he joked that if Dice isn't the real deal he (Terry) would likely be out of a job this time next year. How can such a likeable guy, and Tarheel fan, be involved with Sawx Nation?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 21, 2007 10:09 AM

The difference is that the Sox already have 6 guys 26 & under who are major league pitchers and will be getting guys out three years from now, plus Buchholz, Bard and comp[any coming.

The Yankees have zero & Philip Hughes.

Posted by: oj at January 21, 2007 3:51 PM

A strong "out" pitch can be an addictive safety blanket.

Posted by: Palmcroft at January 21, 2007 6:26 PM

And minor leaguers can't hit breaking stuff. Deadly combo....

Posted by: oj at January 21, 2007 6:39 PM

Au contraire:

St. Philip is of course far superior to Buchholz, but Sanchez, Clippard, the sinker-baller we just picked up from Zona, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, and Dellin Betances are at least Bucholz's equals, and most of them are far superior to the vaunted young Sawx arms, most of whom are so "good" that they're not even starters.

Just about the only thing that Buchholz has going for him, like Lester last season, is that he's a lefty. Which will help him to have a long career pitching out of the pen.

I'm already looking forward to feasting on his stuff, as the Yanks feasted on the other youngsters y'all have rushed up in a panic to compete.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 21, 2007 10:41 PM

you can only have five starterss--you need to move some to the pen. And then you just dump them, as the Tigers did to the Yanks.

The Yankees problem is that a guy like Sanchez is an ideal bullpen candidate but they need him as a starter. Clippard throws so soft he'll never matter. 6'9" high schoolers have a great track record of developing, huh?

Posted by: oj at January 22, 2007 12:02 AM
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