Thursday, October 23, 2008

Will 2009 be the Year of Richard?

Unless you know something I and the rest of the world don’t, you’re slowly accepting the idea that short of a Kenny Williams miracle, we are looking at 2009 as the year of Clay[ton] Richard.

Sure, when looking at his numbers for 2008, you might not be impressed. 2-5 record. 6.04 ERA. But there are good things about his performance this year. His fast ball is great. Paired with some of A.J.’s brain power behind the plate, he has shown he can be an effective pitcher. At least, for a few innings at a time. Look at his performance against the Yankees. Or think of the day of 5 back to back strike-outs. He and his big shoulders may be great options if properly primed. Of course, he’s rarely made it more than 5 or so solid innings. So, let’s take a look back on his minor league days.

He’s done pretty well for himself. A career 3.32 ERA with a 2.45 best this year over 44 innings and a 5.23 worst during his first year, but over only 10.1 innings. His numbers look great. Maybe they should look better than great since there will be some changes once he makes the transfer up to the major leagues, but he’s the best of the bunch we have growing down on the farm. In terms of errors, which normally aren’t a big deal for pitchers, he’s even picked up a few in the minors, but according to the Sox talking heads, he’s working on that this offseason.

They key for him so far has been a well-located fastball. If he keeps that up, gains endurance, and maybe picks up some more pitches, he may be a solid 5th starter- heck even 4th, if Vazquez has another rollercoaster season.

Why I'm scared? Well... there's a reason why he wasn't a starting pitcher this year. (And because he looks like he's wearing shoulder pads even when he's not!)

Why I'm hopeful? Because I see potential.

So, pending trades, magical healing powers, or other unforeseen newcomers, get ready for Clay. Get ready for FWOBAs to start sporting “CLAYMATE” shirts and get ready to watch every 5th game with a bottle of Pepto Bismol alongside your beer.

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