Buchholz, Clay - #11
Position: Starting Pitcher
Bats: Left, Throws: Right
Size: 6'3", 190 lbs
Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round (Sandwich - #42) of the 2005 amateur draft
Contract: $7,700,000 (FA-2016, Team Options 2016-1017)
Comments: Buchholz is something of an enigma. When he's healthy and on, he has the stuff to be a frontline starting pitcher in the majors, but that has rarely happened on any consistent basis. Buchholz's IP over the past 5 years paints a pretty clear picture (92, 173, 82, 189, 108). Is this the year he finally stays healthy and throws 200 Innings? Who knows. Last year, Buchholz was arguably the best pitcher in the AL for the first few months, going 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, then recurring back problems shelved him for most of the rest of the season. He's still only 29 years old and if he can somehow put those injuries behind him he certainly has the stuff to be a top-flight starter. Clay's repertoire includes 4 quality pitches with a Fastball that sits at 91 mph, a cutter, a curve and a change-up. His change-up is premium as he registered a 21.7% SwStr% last year on it.
- Buchholz was ranked the #4 prospect in all of baseball pre-2008 by BA.
- Buchholz is 9th in Career WAR from the very deep 2005 draft class that includes such names as Braun, Zimmerman, Tulowitzki, McCutchen, Gordon, Ellsbury, Justin Upton, Bruce.
- Buchholz threw a no-hitter in only his second career start as a rookie in 2007. He tossed the gem against the Orioles in Fenway on Sept 1st (GameScore = 93).
Season Outlook: Buchholz enters the season healthy and ready to sit atop the Sox rotation along with Jon Lester. Will this be the first 200+ IP season for Clay? Can he stay healthy all year? Those are the questions that remain to be answered because when he pitches, he's very good.