Clay Buchholz Proving He's Capable of Being an Ace for Boston Red Sox

By Bryan Lutz
Anthony Gruppuso – USA TODAY Sports

Clay Buchholz took the baseball world by storm when he debuted with the Boston Red Sox in 2007. Everyone saw the great stuff he possessed when he threw a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, giving Red Sox fans optimism that they had a frontline starter for years to come. While Buchholz pitched well for the Red Sox – especially in 2010 when he had a 2.33 ERA – his sabermetric statistics never backed him up. In other words, it was rather obvious that Buchholz was going to crash hard if he continued to pitch the way he was pitching. In 2012, along with everything else associated with the Red Sox, he finally crashed and burned with a 4.56 ERA and 4.65 FIP. This season, however, Buchholz has shown that is he plenty capable of dominating hitters again, giving the Red Sox the ace that they need if they want to stay atop of American League East.

Buchholz’s traditional statistics are look rather Cy Youngish in April. In 37 2/3 innings, the righthander has won every one of his starts and has a minuscule 1.19 ERA. But what’s even more optimistic about Buchholz’s hot start are his sabermetric numbers. Buchholz’s K/9 (9.32), FIP (2.31), HR/9 (0.24) are all way below his career norms. Those great numbers have given him a 1.3 fWAR, which is basically the production he gave the Red Sox all of last season.

With all that being said, however, the way Buchholz is pitching is unattainable for the course of the season. His LOB% is in the 90s and there is no way he can keep his HR/9 that low. But, if he can keep striking hitters out at a high rate, he is capable of taking the Red Sox into the postseason.

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