Felix Doubront- Can He Jumpstart the Rotation?

There is always something exciting about a young player coming out of nowhere to emerge as a star. When it happens at the major league level, it can make even an average team worth watching. In the Sox camp, it appears that Jackie Bradley Jr. has a chance to be that man in the outfield.
 
It has been pretty rare that a young pitcher emerges this way in Boston. Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling exploded in their first seasons here, but they were already veterans.
 
The best example of this for the post-67 Sox was, of course, Roger Clemens, who in 86 became The Rocket. By midseason, the 24-year-old had won 14 in a row without a loss, become the first pitcher ever to fan 20 in a nine-inning game, and propel his team into a division lead that they would never relinquish. He wound up with a 24-4 mark, a league-leading 248 strikeouts, an MVP trophy, and the first of seven Cy Youngs.
 
In recent years, Jon Lester emerged in 07-08, though on a much smaller scale. By mid-2008, he had already successfully battled cancer, been the winning pitcher in game 7 of a World Series, and thrown a no-hitter. He finished 08 with a 16-6 record including 2 shutouts, and a 3.21 ERA. In the postseason against the Angels, he hurled 14 innings without giving up an earned run. Lester has achieved moderate stardom, but, like the team, suffered a serious setback in 2012.
 
A Peter Abraham piece in the Globe entitled "All the Tools, Ready to Build" suggests that Felix Doubront might be the man on ther mound this year. The 25-year-old lefty from Venezuela was the top Sox starter for a good part of last season. By the end of July, he said he had a 10-5 record,, though his ERA was rather high. Doubront faded after that, possibly because of the length of the major league season. He finished at 11-10 and 4.86, though his hits-to-innings average was a good one for a rookie hurler.
 
Among the things that Felix is trying to improve on in 2013 is using his changeup more. He certainly can throw hard, sometimes reaching 96. But his control must improve, as well as his attitude toward umpires. "I know I got too mad last year," he is quoted as saying, "and when I'm on the mound, I get so pumped. But I'm starting to change that."
 
No one is yet putting Doubront in Lester's category, and he certainly is no Clemens. He still has been erratic at times, allowing 5 hits and 4 runs in an inning to the Yankees on Wednesday. But for a team whose staff definitely needs a jumpstart, Doubront could be the one.

About Matt O'Donnell

Quantcast