Here's is The Cub Reporter's quick breakdown of Van Buren in July 2005:
Pringles Park, the home of the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, plays very much like the pitcher's park, and the Southern League as a whole is a pitcher's best friend too. But Van Buren, a former Rockies top prospect, now 25 and just over a year and a half removed from the Independent Leagues, has taken the same kind of success to Iowa and the Pacific Coast League, which is very much hitter friendly. With our bullpen in Chicago not exactly dependable, what's not to like? And what's to lose? The flagrant underemployment of Sergio Mitre, who's thrown just 3 innings since the All-Star Break? Send him to Iowa, or preferably elsewhere today via trade, anywhere where the innings will come thicker and faster, and give Van Buren the shot that he deserves.
Van Buren is also a strikeout pitcher, something we need on this team. Van Buren struck 65 out in 54.2 IP last season in Triple-A, and has compiled an 8.90 K/9 in his minor league career. Once he transitions to major league hitters we'll probably see similar numbers.
Depending on many things (like how high the front office is on him and what happens with Mike Myers and other free agent relievers), Van Buren could start the season with the Sox, but I think it is more realistic to see him in Pawtucket to start the season.
Just Give Me The Ball!
The Red Sox want their ball back. Sox lawyers filed a suit for rightful ownership of the ball Keith Foulke flipped to Doug Mientkiewicz to close out the 2004 World Series.
I personally don't care what happens to the ball. If I had a choice, I'd give it to the Red Sox, and I think that's where it will end up when everything is all said and done.