Fantasy Baseball Profile: Clay Buchholz
Is this the year Clay Buchholz finally sticks in the starting rotation? He has all the tools, but once again the Sox are loaded at the position. Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and John Lackey certainly have their roles carved provided their healthy. That leaves a tussle between Buchholz, the expensive import Daisuke Matsuzaka, and the ageless wonder Tim Wakefield. Whether or not Buchholz can hold off the gyroballer or knuckleballer will go a long way in determining his fantasy value.
As long as he’s not traded, I’m going with the assumption that Buchholz will be a regular in the rotation. Dice-K will likely join him with Wakefield being the odd man out. Wakefield gives the Red Sox more flexibility in that he can pitch on much shorter rest, be it in long relief or a spot start. Plus, Clay and Matsuzaka have more upside.
Speaking of Buchholz’s upside, he’s a guy who threw a no-hitter in his second start. After a miserable 2008 campaign where he posted a 2-9 record with a 6.75 ERA and 1.76 WHIP, he got back on track with a 7-4, 4.21 ERA, 1.38 WHIP 2009 season.
2010 should be even better. Aside from having twice as many starts, which in and of itself will increase his fantasy value, the Red Sox bolstered their defense by adding Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre. Plus, the addition of John Lackey gives him another veteran pitcher to lean on and learn from.
Buchholz’s brilliant September in the heat of the Wild Card race should give him the confidence he needs to succeed. He was 4-1 in six starts with a sparkling 2.87 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and .225 BAA. He even got a taste of the post season, earning a no-decision against the Angels. He gave up two runs in 5 Innings (3.60 ERA). He was in line for the win before Boston’s bullpen imploded. I expect big thing from Buchholz this year.
Prediction: 13-7, 3.65 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 160 Ks