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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 12, 2007 at 12:34 PM (#2361539)
I just wanted to note that Buchholz got jumped a level this spring - he had only 16 IP in advanced A ball, but the Sox sent him to Portland anyway. Seems they made the right decision.
   2. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 12:55 PM (#2361548)
Bowden is pitching today.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 12, 2007 at 01:12 PM (#2361557)
Via SoSH, the dude from Soxprospects had a running, pitch-by-pitch game summary of Buchholz last night. Looks like he works 90-93 on the fastball and can hit 94-96 when he wants, works in some changes and occasionally a slider, but relies on the curveball as his #1 offering. The big strikeout numbers, if this game is generalizable, seem to come because his curve is way, way too good for double-A batters.

Do minor leaguers struggle more against quality breaking stuff than against quality fastballs? That seems to be one of those general bits of baseball wisdom that I've picked up without knowing enough to really speak to it. If that's the case, it seems reasonable to assume that Buchholz will need more adjustment time than a guy who was doing the same thing, but relying primarily on an unhittable fastball.
   4. philly Posted: May 12, 2007 at 01:24 PM (#2361563)
Do minor leaguers struggle more against quality breaking stuff than against quality fastballs? That seems to be one of those general bits of baseball wisdom that I've picked up without knowing enough to really speak to it.


That is a minor league truism, but generally one reserved for A ball pitchers. Going back 10-15 years, the Sox Joel Bennett was a classic example of a guy who piled up a ton of A ball strikeouts with a very advanced curve and an 87 mph fastball.

It seems to be much less of an issue for AA pitchers. They're actually facing hitters who have seen curveballs and have demonstrated some ability to hit them. And more importantly, Buchholz has much better stuff around that curveball.

Just looked up Bennett to see if my memory was correct - 221 Ks in 181 IP in the Car in 1993! Let's see Clayboy top 200 Ks before we talk about him being better than Joel Bennett much less Lester and Papelbon.
   5. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 12, 2007 at 01:52 PM (#2361574)
David Murphy?
   6. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:00 PM (#2361582)
Wow, this site is moving fast today. Just trying to make use of it.

C-Wok, Murphy's numbers look great, don't they? He's actually hitting better than Moss right now.

Murphy .314 .407 .488
Moss .275 .379 .517


If his defensive rep is accurate, he could actually be something. (It seems that Moss's hot start was, as feared, just that.)
   7. philly Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:13 PM (#2361588)
Philly, his numbers in AA are better than the ones he achieved at the lower levels. Doesn't that tell you something?


Not really. His K rate dropped by 2 per 9 IP from his big year in the Car to AA and he put up an ERA over 4 in a New Britain park that absolutely crushed offense. I suspect his translated AA performance would be pretty marginal although he did generally strike out a good number of hitters even in the high minors.
   8. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:16 PM (#2361594)
the A-ball curveball maxim reminds me of when Sid Fernandez was in the Dodgers system. Of course, he had that weird motion and release point that made his fastball tougher than it's gun speed, so he's not that great a comp...but he went nuts in the lower minors with that combo.

bully for the cube, they have El Sid's minor league stats

Trading him for Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz wasn't Bagwell-for-Anderson, but I'm still scarred by it.
   9. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:19 PM (#2361595)
How about an MLE for him, MCOA?
   10. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:23 PM (#2361596)
Does anyone think that Buchholz would do worse than the 6.60 ERA that Tavarez currently sports?

Tavarez does have a 4.63 FIP and a 3.90 XFIP, the latter of which is the 2nd best # for a starter on the club. He looks like he has good movement on his pitches, but he's gotten such awful results.
   11. philly Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2361599)
Who are you talking about? I'm talking about Buchholz.


Ooops. My last comment mentioned Bennett again so thought you were referring to him.

Yeah, Buccholz has been ridiculously good.
   12. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:42 PM (#2361608)
Btw, if David Murphy is legit, I'd be tempted to package Coco, Lowell, and maybe somebody else for a premier player somewhere else in the lineup. Or Coco and somebody else for a 4th legitimate bullpen arm.
   13. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 12, 2007 at 02:44 PM (#2361610)
Btw, when I say "premier player", I meant "legitimately good player on a losing team ready to dump higher salary"
   14. John DiFool2 Posted: May 12, 2007 at 04:44 PM (#2361647)
I'd like to see Wily Mo designated for assignment or something. He's just killing them every time he's in the outfield and if there's someone in the farm who can take his place I'd like to swing him for something. Yeah he might go on and hit 40 HR as a DH somewhere but his value to this team as it is constructed is pretty nil.
   15. Xander Posted: May 12, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2361666)
Darren, you posed these questions in the other thread:
I would love for you to add your thoughts on a) how soon Buc will be our 5th starter, b) how soon Bowden will be in AA, c) how these two project as major leaguers.


a) He can pitch in the majors right and certainly outperform Tavarez. I don't think that's really going out on a limb. But I'm sure they would like to get him some time against a different sort of competition in triple-A before he even gets a look. I think he's got about 2 or 3 double-A starts left in him before he gets promoted to Pawtucket. We'll evaluate the Lester situation from there.

b) I think Bowden will be there my the middle of next month.

c) I project Buchholz as a 1-2 and Bowden as a 2-3. Upsides are Carpenter and Morris, respectively.
   16. NDG Posted: May 12, 2007 at 05:25 PM (#2361681)
Do minor leaguers struggle more against quality breaking stuff than against quality fastballs?


I think so, for exhibit A check out Jamie Vermilyea's minor league K progression.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/V/Jamie-Vermilyea.shtml
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 12, 2007 at 05:39 PM (#2361687)
Buchholz's fastball, by all reports, grades out above average, verging on plus. He's really nothing like Vermilyea or Bennett, who didn't throw even average major league fastballs, and who didn't get it done above A ball. (Bennett didn't even get it done in A-ball - an RA well over 4 in the Carolina League in '93 is wildly unimpressive, strikeouts or not.)

The comp in my head is Rich Hill, who took an extra year or so to produce in the majors after putting up absolutely sick K numbers in the minors. Hill's fastball and command are not as good as Buchholz', but he's a lefty and his curveball is probably better. He's not a great comp, but he's the guy in my head. I brought up the curveball pitcher thing not to compare Buchholz to failed prospects, but to compare him to prospects who took a little extra time to adjust to the highest levels of competition.
   18. Xander Posted: May 12, 2007 at 05:43 PM (#2361691)
That's a weird comp. I understand what you are trying to say though. However lets not forget that Buchholz has two other plus pitches. The night I saw him, his curve was good, but his changeup was off-the-charts.
   19. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2361702)
c) I project Buchholz as a 1-2 and Bowden as a 2-3. Upsides are Carpenter and Morris, respectively.


Will we have to wait as long for Buc as they did for Carp? Pre-overworked Morris, or post-overworked Morris?
   20. Xander Posted: May 12, 2007 at 06:23 PM (#2361733)
That seems like something that's impossible to predict. I didn't intend to mean that Buchholz will be enigmatic for the first part of his career. As far as I can tell he should follow a normal career path.

I chose the Morris comp for Bowden because the curveball is his best pitch and he has good command of a 91-94 mph fastball.
   21. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 06:27 PM (#2361740)
Weird line from Haigwood in AA today: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 HR. Go get 'em next time.
   22. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2361746)
This report on Soxprospects.com says that Buchholz K'ed 8 in a row, breaking the team record. He also gives a description of his stuff.
   23. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 06:42 PM (#2361768)
That RLYW thread also has Coco at +18/162 and Youks at +15/162. This would help explain our excellent run prevention. Of course Manny's at -59!!!! (Unadjusted, but still, wow.)
   24. Xander Posted: May 12, 2007 at 06:46 PM (#2361779)
Where is that thread?
   25. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 09:10 PM (#2362009)
It's at replacementlevel.com.
   26. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 12, 2007 at 09:34 PM (#2362025)
I'd like to see Wily Mo designated for assignment or something. He's just killing them every time he's in the outfield and if there's someone in the farm who can take his place I'd like to swing him for something. Yeah he might go on and hit 40 HR as a DH somewhere but his value to this team as it is constructed is pretty nil.

I'd rather keep Wily Mo and trade Coco. He's angering me right now.
   27. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 12, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2362029)
P.S. Lester is scheduled to start in the Majors in July right? So we've only got 1.5 months of Tavarez starting left...?
   28. Darren Posted: May 12, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2362038)
Who says Lester is up in July? Lester MIGHT get called up IF he can stay healthy and IF he can show that he's got better control this year. Counting on him seems foolish to me.
   29. JB H Posted: May 12, 2007 at 10:45 PM (#2362072)
Those numbers on RLYW reinforce everything I believe about the defense so far Everyone's good except Drew who's been mediocre (I expect him to be good the rest of the way) and Manny who's worse than ever.

They really ought to promote Buchholz to AAA really soon. There's a pretty good chance that he's way better than Tavarez and Lester (who I think are close to equal right now) so they should give him the best chance to show it. Although maybe the best-case scenario is that the Sox clinch a playoff spot in late June and can just hold Buchholz in the minors and delay his arbitration a season before getting him in the pen for the playoffs.
   30. Miko Supports Shane's Spam Habit Posted: May 12, 2007 at 11:06 PM (#2362083)
Those are pretty raw conversions, right? There are some oddities there...Mike Cameron's the worst CF in the NL. Has he really fallen off a cliff? Matt Holliday is the #1 LF in the NL. If that's true, then given how he's hit in 06 and 07 and that he's a Boras client, he's headed for some kind of payday.
   31. Darren Posted: May 13, 2007 at 01:45 AM (#2362170)
Bowden tonight: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. ERA down to 1.40. (Not sure if he's done yet, but 6 IP seems like his likely limit.)
   32. Darren Posted: May 13, 2007 at 01:54 AM (#2362172)
At age 20, Phillip Hughes started the season in High-A. His numbers next to Bowden's:

Hughes 30 IP, 19 H, 0 HR, 2 BB, 30 K, 1.80 ERA
Bowden 45 IP, 35 H, 1 HR, 8 BB, 45 K, 1.40 ERA

After you account for park, that's well, that's a fun comparison is all.

Another guy who has actually already become a top pitcher in the Majors, Brandon Webb, pitched for Lancaster. Here are his numbers for his age 22 season there:

162.1 IP, 174 H, 9 HR, 44 BB, 158 K, 3.99 ERA.
   33. Darren Posted: May 13, 2007 at 01:59 AM (#2362174)
Well, they sent Bowden out for the 7th and he set them down in order, making the numbers above out of date already. Here's the updated ones:

46 IP, 35 H, 1 HR, 8 BB, 46 K, 1.37 ERA
   34. Xander Posted: May 13, 2007 at 02:02 AM (#2362176)
Bowden's final line:

7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5/1 K/BB
   35. bibigon Posted: May 13, 2007 at 03:48 AM (#2362222)
I question how good a comp Carpenter is for Buchholz. Carpenter seems to keep the ball on the ground a whole lot more than Bucholz is likely to.

Jake Peavy perhaps?
   36. Xander Posted: May 13, 2007 at 04:04 AM (#2362231)
I think I'll stick with Carpenter.
   37. Xander Posted: May 13, 2007 at 04:28 AM (#2362245)
I say Carpenter, because he has a similar style to Buchholz. While Peavy shares the same arsenal, he delivers the ball from a 3/4 angle, different than Buck's more over the top motion.

Also, if you put Carpenter's 3 year GB% (~53%) against Peavy's (~41%), Buck's career minor league GB% (47%) bisects both of them.
   38. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 13, 2007 at 04:57 AM (#2362251)
As long nobody said Jose Lima
   39. Xander Posted: May 14, 2007 at 12:10 AM (#2362971)
That was quick. Bowden gets promoted to Portland.
   40. Darren Posted: May 14, 2007 at 12:17 AM (#2362973)
I guess that's to fill Buchholz's spot when he moves into the Boston rotation.
   41. Darren Posted: May 14, 2007 at 12:22 AM (#2362979)
I should add that I'm glad they're moving Bowden up. He survived that awful environment insanely well, no need to leave him there to see what happens. Move him up to AA where he can succeed or fail in a far more normal environment, albeit with tougher competition.
   42. Darren Posted: May 14, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2362984)
Hansack? What has Hansack done to make you think he belongs in a ML rotation. If anything, they put Snyder in the rotation and bring up someone for the long-man role. Breslow's earned a shot but it would probably be lobster man again.
   43. Count Posted: May 14, 2007 at 12:54 AM (#2362998)
2008 Rotation:

Matsuzaka, Beckett, Wakefield? Schilling? Lester? Buchholz? Zink? (my unrealistic pipe dream)

Also, whatever happened to Clement?
   44. Darren Posted: May 14, 2007 at 01:20 AM (#2363020)
They've mentioned Beckett as possibly being able to pitch in August. I certainly hope they don't need him.
   45. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 14, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2363024)
Jeez, I hope Beckett's back a lot sooner than August...
   46. Xander Posted: May 14, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2363025)
You think the finger injury is that bad Darren?

;)
   47. Darren Posted: May 14, 2007 at 01:53 AM (#2363042)
Cripes, what's wrong with me? Clement!
   48. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 14, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2363061)
Here, boss.
   49. Darren Posted: May 14, 2007 at 02:32 AM (#2363075)
Mikael,

How about that win?
   50. Tom Cervo, backup catcher Posted: May 14, 2007 at 04:13 AM (#2363166)
Also, if you put Carpenter's 3 year GB% (~53%) against Peavy's (~41%), Buck's career minor league GB% (47%) bisects both of them.


Temple, have you (or anyone else for that matter) looked at how well minor league GB rates correlate to the majors?
   51. Xander Posted: May 14, 2007 at 04:20 AM (#2363173)
No. Do we have enough information to do that yet? Extensive BIP info doesn't really go back that far.
   52. Xander Posted: May 14, 2007 at 04:21 AM (#2363175)
For the minors that is.
   53. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 14, 2007 at 10:04 AM (#2363282)
Also, whatever happened to Clement?

Undescended testis
   54. plim Posted: May 14, 2007 at 03:31 PM (#2363427)
isn't this the last year of clement's contract? do we have any reason to re-sign him with so many promising, young arms coming up?
   55. chris p Posted: May 14, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2363432)
The short answer? NO. Unless he wants to sign a 2-year non-guaranteed for 2 or 3 mil a year.

i agree with your short answer. not so much with your long answer. my version of the long answer would be: NO.
   56. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 14, 2007 at 03:53 PM (#2363447)
How about that win?
Crazy ####. Fiance was there with her family, she stayed for the ninth, they left. Said the park was insane, especially the momentary letdown and release on the Lugo play. I will say that it's hard to bunch your hits any better than the Sox did yesterday, which is nice, in it's way.
Also, whatever happened to Clement?

Undescended testis
They guy pitched for months with a multiply destroyed shoulder, through daily pain, but we're still breaking out our cheapest barbs about him manhood. Very lame. I don't want Clement back, but I'd rather not see him slandered on false charges.

I like the Bowden promotion a lot. If I may get on one of my hobby horses - what's great about the promotion is that it is, in itself, evidence for how well Bowden was pitching, and for how much the Sox liked him in the preseason. We are so far removed from so much of the most important information about prospects that I think the question on a promotion like this should be not so much "good or bad idea?" as "what new evidence do we get from this about hte players involved?" Given what we know about how conservative the Sox have been with in-season promotions, this suggests that the Sox were prepared to jump Bowden to AA quickly, and saw him, before hte season started, as a kid who's ready to be challenged in the high minors. That's great news, on top of his (insane) statistics.
   57. Xander Posted: May 18, 2007 at 05:56 AM (#2367992)
Reid Engel is coming...
   58. Xander Posted: May 19, 2007 at 01:32 AM (#2369010)
Bowden's first start in double-A: 5 IP, 2 H, ER, 5/2 K/BB

I'm sure some of you will find something to nit-pick about it.
   59. Darren Posted: May 19, 2007 at 02:44 AM (#2369059)
"Some of you" is just a euphemism for MCOA. Temple, where is Reid Engel coming to? Is headed for "I haven't hit at any level really, and even now I have no power and my BB/K ratio is 7/24" land?
   60. Xander Posted: May 19, 2007 at 02:53 AM (#2369067)
Well he just turned 20 and he's been the hottest player in the organization over his last 50 AB's (.468/.519/.660). He's not short on tools, just experience.
   61. PJ Martinez Posted: May 19, 2007 at 03:16 AM (#2369078)
Reid Engel sounds like the name for a German philosopher more than a ballplayer. If he played for the Yankees, John Sterling could say his hits were "Engelian."
   62. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 19, 2007 at 03:19 AM (#2369080)
Given what we know about how conservative the Sox have been with in-season promotions, this suggests that the Sox were prepared to jump Bowden to AA quickly, and saw him, before hte season started, as a kid who's ready to be challenged in the high minors.


I think this is more a matter of getting him out of Lancaster before the weather heats up, to be honest.

-- MWE
   63. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 19, 2007 at 03:25 AM (#2369086)
Do the Sox have any more plans to sign prospects from Asia? Just wondering.
   64. PJ Martinez Posted: May 19, 2007 at 03:39 AM (#2369098)
I don't know, but after Matsuzaka and Okajima I'm certainly ready to see more Japanese players in Boston. Someone over at SoSH was cooking up Ichiro trade ideas, and even though they were all half-baked, I loved the idea of Ichiro in Boston (in center). Matsui can stay in New York, though.
   65. Xander Posted: May 19, 2007 at 03:44 AM (#2369104)
Do the Sox have any more plans to sign prospects from Asia? Just wondering.
They are one of the teams bidding for Che-Hsuan Lin, a centerfielder from Taiwan. He's got plus speed and a cannon for an arm. He should be the big "get" from Taiwan this year.
   66. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 19, 2007 at 04:13 AM (#2369125)
I'd love for the Sox to just start signing high school players out of Japan that their clubs were supposed to be drafting. Or is there a rule against that?
   67. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 19, 2007 at 04:20 AM (#2369128)
Nah, Ellsbury is the future centfielder. We have too many outfielders at the moment and not enough catchers and thirdbasemen.

Agreed about catchers. Mirabelli will retire after this year, and Varitek should not get a new contract after this one is up.
   68. Xander Posted: May 19, 2007 at 04:38 AM (#2369137)
Or is there a rule against that?
There's a rule against it except for very rare occasions (i.e. when the kid's high school had no baseball program).

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