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Mailbag: Buchholz?

June 16, 2015

CL,

You cut Buchholz. What gives?

Not a Member of Red Sox Nation

Dear Buck Martinez,

Clay Buchholz is, I claim, unrosterable for most teams in our league. He’ll help you with K/BB, but he’s both inconsistent and average-at-best in other categories.

Being on a bad Red Sox team is also a problem, but maybe not in the way you might think. W and QS don’t get much help, and if those are important to you, skip this paragraph and the next. They’re not important to me, but the supporting cast in Boston is an issue anyway: Buchholz doesn’t have the mental toughness to be an ace.

Consider Zack Greinke. Unlike Buchholz, Greinke certainly does have the physical tools to be the #1 guy. But like Buchholz, Greinke only thrives when he can be the #2, #3 starter just going about his business. The physical task is no different for Buchholz this season, but in years past he’s had Jon Lester, and to a lesser degree John Lackey and Jake Peavy shouldering the load of dealing with the media and mentoring the younger arms. Greinke wound up with serious mental health issues. I’m not saying that’s where Buchholz is headed, but he’s just not put in a position to succeed this year.

So, this year, Buchholz just can’t help most teams in our league where starters either need an ERA of 3.50 or need elite K/BB or exceptional access to W/QS.

The exception is if you’re running an all-starter staff with 11-12 starters where you can pitch Buchholz only in his best spots. I’m rostering 6 starters max, and I wish it were 5. I found a few good spots (Buchholz, CL team log: 37 IP, 1.95 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 3.75 K/BB) but there are less on the horizon and I saw more sense in trying to run an extra reliever in hopes of two filthy innings a week.

I’m leading the league in ERA… I have an empire to protect.

Thanks for writing,

CL

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