Clay Buchholz's Move to the Pen
Clay Buchholz finally, gracefully, got moved to the bullpen. At first glance it seems like the right move considering he’s 31 years old and clearly cant start games any more. Honestly, he hasn’t been able to start games for years now. Now I refuse to forget his no-hitter. But besides that and his start to the 2013 season, when he went 12-1 through only 16 games with a 1.74 ERA, he’s been terrible. Honestly, his struggles may even go back to that 2013 injury, which was caused when he fell asleep with his baby in his arms (softy). And I, like I assume many other Sox fans, have used his no-no and his 2013 season to trick ourselves into thinking he may be good again before every season. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ve drafted him in my fantasy baseball leagues every year since 2012.
Now getting back to his move to the pen, my first impression was that he couldn’t make it being a reliever. However, as I thought about it more and more, I really think he could be a useful piece back there. From what I’ve found, Clay’s top velocity for his fastball this year was right around 93-94 mph. But, I believe that if he’s not trying to pitch long innings anymore he could dial it up to 96 and still have a pretty nasty change up and curveball. With Koji being 41 years old now, I can’t imagine he’ll be around much longer to set up games, which could work out perfectly for Clay. We’ve seen multiple cases of starters moving to the bullpen and being successful. My brain goes right to Wade Davis of KC. He started out as a starter and was moved to a set up role and was clearly fantastic for years and now he’s a lights out closer. Jonathon Papelbon also started out as a starter and has put together a fantastic career as a closer. Of course I’m well aware that both of these guys were much younger than Clay is right now when they made the move to the pen, but with a little luck we may have a very useful bullpen guy on our hands.