Re: A Realistic View at 2013: Part II
posted at 3/29/2013 5:36 PM EDT
Lester..he was lights out this spring! He's throwing harder, working faster, ignoring umpires, throwing downhill and throwing fewer cutters. Grade A+ for the spring! 15-20 wins is not out of the question.
Great job, jid. Lot's of good stuff here.
I read on fangraphs once that there is next to no examples of a SP who lost velocity without an injury to regain it. Is Lester a freak?
Buchholz...not very far behind Lester. Great stats but more important than the stats is the swagger he shows on the mound. He used to slow the game to a crawl with runners on, but not this spring. He has always had electric stuff, going back to his no-no, but he seems to be growing consistent. Another A+ for the spring and Cy Young potential.
I love Buch and think he can be Cy Young material if he can get 32 healthy starts.
Dempster...will not blow anyone away with velocity or sfuff. What he will do is pound the strike zone, pitch to contact, and pile up innings. On a team that may boast the top pen in the league, a solid six-inning guy who will pile up quality starts can easily win 12-15 games.
I'm not that optimistic here, but he has the numbers to give us strong hope.
Doubront... has swing and miss stuff but a bigger belly than me. And he nibbles, nibbles! He is an inigma since he has great stuff and has yet to make serious MLB money, yet he is potentially costing himself millions with poor conditioning and lapses of concentration on the mound. The inigma could win 12-15 games or he could be out of the rotation by mid-year.
He irked me back in 2011 when the 5th slot was his to lose, and he came to camp out of shape then languished in rehab for months. Now this. I'm sorry; I know he has nasty stuff, but I'd have traded him before he exposes the character flaw.
Lackey...could be the talk of the season (once the Bradley hype subsides) as he looks great, is throwing in the low 90's, pounding the strike zone and pitching to contact. He will give up hits but the team may turn more double plays behind him that any other starter. As long as he doesn't run into any health issues, or the dead arm recovery period, he should be a double-digit winner. He will also benefit from pitching against other teams' fifth starter early in the season.
Good point. I'm pulling hard for John. He could win Comeback Player of the Year due to such a low low point to come back from.
Aceves...I'm already on record as saying he should have been booted last year, so I'm obviously not a fan. He has good stuff but is a Jeckyl/Hyde character.His best role is the one he's in, but he may not believe that, nor be happy with it. So another explosion could be imminent.
He's maybe the best long-mid relief guy in MLB over the last 2-4 years.
Webster...this guy is the real deal. He will win important games for this team this year and going forward will be a mainstay in the rotation. Good velocity, lots of downward tilt on his pitches and exceptional control for a young guy. Needs innings at AAA to work on consistency, but he is very impressive.
When others were talking up DLR, I kept saying we shouldn't forget Web. This guy can pitch!
Others...Wright was terrible, haven't seen Morales, De La Rosa started out great but struggled late, Doyle and others are AAA pitchers at best. Never saw Barnes, Renaudo or Owens, but heard great things about each.
Overall the weakest part of the team last year could be the team's second greatest strength, behind the pen. I wouldn't be shocked if by mid season Lackey was the three and Dempster the five, nor would I be shocked to see Doubront either excel or implode. I will be surprised if Lester and Buchholz don't win at least 30 games between them. I think the combination of Ross, Salty, Nieves and Farrell, in no particular order, have brought this group back to the respectability they should garner. I will also add that a much better defense, a healthy Ells over the hodge-podge of CF's last year, Iggy over Aviles, a healthy Pedroia for 155 games, a healthy Middlebrooks for 150 games, Victorino and Bradley over the collection of outfielders from last year, and finally an improved Salty and the great addition of Ross all will allow our pitchers to pitch with much greater confidence and throw fewer pitches per inning.
That and a real SS at SS, a much improved OF defense, and a healthy Middlebrooks at 3B should improve the staff even if they pitch just like 2012.