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Clay Buchholz (6-3, 3.48 ERA, 82.2 IP, 60 K, 31 BB): Everyone seems to be penciling in Buchholz for a repeat of his 2010 performance. But are those appropriate expectations? Everyone will point to that impressive 17-7 record and the awe-inducing 2.33 ERA, but they tend forget that 2010 was Buchholz’s first truly productive season in the majors. Before that, Buchholz was struggling at the major league level and was sent back to Triple-A to figure things out (i.e. to pitch not terribly).
The big question is whether Buchholz’s 2010 season numbers were career highs or career averages?
There’s not much use looking at his 2011 stats, simply because it’s too small a sample and Buchholz was not healthy. For now all we can do is ask questions? Is his back okay now? When he’s healthy, is he the All-Star pitcher we saw in 2010? Let’s hope so.
Last season, Red Sox fans bragged about having a rotation of five aces, but it seems a little foolish to proclaim Buchholz an “ace” after one productive season, one injury-riddled season, and a few not so great ones. What’s it going to be? Buchholz is only 27, so it wouldn’t be outrageous to guess that there is room for improvement. Either way, Buchholz is not the sure-thing many are projecting him to be.
Was 2010 the highlight season of Buchholz’s career, or simply the first of many more to come? All we can do is wait and find out.
2012 Red Sox Starting Rotation Previews: