Up to this point in his career, Felix Doubront has been a pitcher with tremendous talent, but whether it has been due to conditioning or control issues, he has yet to reach his full potential. That may all change in 2014 however, as he showed up to Spring Training in great shape and has been dominant on the mound so far this spring.
While Spring Training is not always a benchmark for regular season success, Doubront certainly has pitched like a man on a mission, throwing six scoreless innings allowing three hits, zero earned runs, no walks and six strikeouts in two starts. If he can keep up his fantastic start through the rest of the spring, he will have a very good chance of seizing the No. 4 spot in the Boston Red Sox starting rotation behind cemented starters Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz.
If Jake Peavy is healthy for opening day and Doubront fails to impress, he would then slide into the fifth starter spot, which would be the worst-case scenario for him. You can bet that he is going to do everything he can to make the decision to slide him into the No. 4 spot easier for the coaching staff. So far, he has been doing exactly that.
Despite his 24-18 career record with a 4.62 ERA, there is reason to believe that he can improve greatly on those numbers this season. If he doesn’t, he may find himself elsewhere as early as next year considering that pitchers like Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo and others are hot on his tail in the team’s farm system. He faces heavy pressure this year as the Red Sox may have a shorter leash on him compared to past seasons.
Doubront is still in the prime of his career at only 26 years of age, and he may finally be ready to silence his critics and put together a breakout season. He will certainly be able to show what he can do this year with a spot in the starting rotation already locked up. If there is ever a time for him to shine on the big stage, it is now.