Thursday, January 8, 2009

How would you feel if you were Lance Broadway?

Recently, [Coop gave another interview] about the 2009 starters, and that got me thinking. Sure, I was inspired to write about Clayton Richard, who was somewhat of a breakout star this year, but he’s not the one worrying at home. His biggest concern is making another embarrassing fielding error. The one who should worry is another whose name is often thrown out with the other prospects (Poreda, Marquez of course, etc.). Lance Broadway.

Let’s go back. Not to 2008, but 2007. Why was it Lance Broadway that they brought up to battle the Royals? He pitched a scoreless, unflawed game. But how was anyone to expect that? His numbers in Charlotte weren’t too encouraging. He finished out the year with an 8-9 record in Charlotte and a less than stellar 4.65 ERA over 155 innings. Certainly a far cry in contrast to the 2.75 ERA over 154 innings in 25 games in AA. And, yes, we are talking apples and… bigger apples, or whatever the case may be when moving from AA to AAA, but The difference between 4.65 and 2.75 earned runs can mean quite a bit more in a game. So, then, why Broadway? Is it his Mark-Buehrle-like groundball style? Whatever it was, in 2007 (perhaps it was the season as a whole), it was enough to get him a start.

His 2008 season wasn’t much better. If anything, he seemed to have regressed. In 10 less innings than the previous year, Broadway gave up 7 more home runs. Only his WHIP got slightly better, and I use the word slightly generously. And the guys upstairs seemed to notice, letting him “eat innings” rather than be allowed to start any time it really mattered. Not to mention that he did some big league pitching backed up by errors and iffy defense, so he was given more runs than he earned. This won’t help his case.

So, with that said, it would seem to me he wouldn’t have a spot in the rotation for the second year. But “wouldn’t” and “won’t” are two different words. First of all, the need for 2009 seems much more serious than last year. While Danks and Floyd held their own last season, they’re missing the salt and pepper Buehrle gathered over time and shouldn’t be treated as the solid spokes in the wheel. (Hopefully, they are, but, just last year, they were the question marks.) There may be need to carry Danks or Floyd through the season. Just because Broadway isn’t historically the “strongest” starter, he may not be out of the running. Richard, one of the strongest candidates, may not be a good fit for a starter position. First, this wasn’t just his first year making a major league appearance, it was his first year in AAA. And, in the majors, he seemed to do a much better job as a reliever than a starter. Plus, with the departure of Logan, and Massett, having a good, left handed arm in the bullpen would be a real asset. That would Leave Marquez and Poreda. Poreda, however, has been brought up in conversation reluctantly because he really has had no big league experience. He hasn’t even had AAA experience- despite posting great numbers. Hey, Lance Broadway’s numbers were pretty similar in the A+ and AA leagues, but moved on to AAA and got weaker, in case my previous paragraphs weren’t clear.

In case I wrote in a circle, I’m saying Lance Broadway’s numbers aren’t too impressive in the minors. They’re not much more impressive in the majors either, but he hasn’t been given enough of a chance with the big kids to date to be really judged on that. But those numbers weren’t enough to dispel rumors that he may still have a chance with the Sox. He’s still a definite possibility, especially if Clay Rich will be used where he has been most effective (in the bullpen), and the coaches still want to give Poreda time to mature. So, fret not, Lance Broadway. Short of some professional, veteran help through another surprise Kenny Williams trade, there is still a chance for you in the majors.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

This spring training will be Broadway's first legit shot at the rotation. We'll find out what kind of competitor he is now that #4 and #5 are up for grabs.