Clay for Citi Starter

Through 10 starts this season, 28 year-old Clay Buchholz has been phenomenal. His 1.73 ERA stands as the best in the American League, and his 7-0 record places him next to Max Scherzer and Matt Moore as the only remaining undefeated starters in the AL. After being drafted in the first round in 2005, Clay has had more than his fair share of ups and downs in the Major Leagues. I mean, you aren't exactly a model of consistency when your career ERA trend looks like this (via FanGraphs).

But early in this 2013 season, it seems Clay has finally figured it out. Not coincidentally, when he isn't giving up the long ball, he's a much better pitcher (via FanGraphs).


As you can see, there's a pretty similar trend in this data, and I doubt it's an accident. Less homeruns, better ERA. More homeruns, you get the picture. Now I don't know if I'm quite ready to crown Clay the Cy Young and conclude that he's going to be a top pitcher for years to come, but I do think he makes an incredibly strong case to start the All-Star game, and certainly deserves to be in Cy talks (although I always feel that such conversations can only be taken seriously deep into the summer, see Ubaldo Jimenez).

As I mentioned earlier, his 1.73 ERA is tops in the AL to this point in the year, and is about on par with perennial Cy Young award winner Clayton Kershaw. Before you say it, I've decided to reallocate last year's Cy Young... in my mind, Kershaw is now a 2-time winner. Buchholz also currently holds the second highest WAR for American League pitchers, with a 2.5 (Anibal Sanchez leads at 2.8). His 7 wins ranks second in the AL as well, behind only the 8-0 Matt Moore of the Rays. His 9.04 K/9 and 84.7% left on base rate both rank in the top 10 among American League pitchers (9th and 6th respectively). His absurd 0.25 HR per 9 innings ranks as the best in the American League. In his 72.2 innings this season, he has allowed just 2 homeruns: one to Travis Hafner in his first start of the season, and a second to Pedro Florimon on May 17th. The latter was painful. The two-run shot just barely cleared that high wall in right at Target, and at the time gave the Twins a 2-1 lead. Buchholz would finish the day with a no decision, but the Sox would win 3-2 in 10 innings.

Regardless of homeruns allowed to Pedro Florimon, Buchholz has pitched tremendously this season and deserves some serious consideration to start the All-Star game on June 16th. Oh but his facial hair and that dangly bit of greasy hair he's got going needs to be cut. It just looks gross.

On a side-note, Pedro Florimon has never homered off a Cy Young winner. I mean, look at this guy... come on Clay. You're better than that.



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