The other four members of the rotation are all interesting in their own right. Lester is coming off a down year, but is looking good in spring. Dempster has been extremely reliable in recent years, but is entering the American League. Clay Buchholz is a less dramatic version of Lester, with the added benefit of his second half in 2012. And if John Lackey is the destroyer of hope and happiness, well, there are degrees of destroying hope and happiness.
Felix Doubront, though, might be the most interesting of them all.
He has some amazing stuff. We've seen him blow away the best of them, and any time he takes the mound, it feels like there's the potential for double digit strikeouts.
He's young and inexperienced at the highest level. That means there's the potential for significant growth on a year-to-year basis, and also the chance that the league will figure him out and send him packing.
His biggest problem in 2012 was efficiency, which actually isn't the worst thing in the world. It's more about approach than ability, and since he knows that it's his issue it's something he can consciously work on and is thus more likely to iron out. On the other hand, his spring has been a bit of a mixed bag. In one game he looked like the same old Doubront, in another he was going after hitters and getting through his innings in a hurry.
All this combines to give us a pitcher who can go in any direction. He's not starting artificially low or artificially high. He was what he was last year, and after 2013, he will have set a new standard for himself, be it positive or negative. It should be an interesting season.