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Clay Buchholz: Buy, Sell, or Wait on the Fantasy Free Agent?

When you look at the total numbers, Clay Buchholz is having a serious down season, especially when compared to what he did in 2013.

Clay Buchholz, 2013 & 2014

Season
Games Started
IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-L
QS
ERA
WHIP
201316108.175-36219612-1131.741.02
20141585.2105-2552655-575.461.52

Okay, he missed a lot of time in 2013 but when he was out there, Buchholz was an ace. In 2014, not so much. So, since it’s pretty clear that he’s got no fantasy relevance, why am I taking the time to write about him?

I’m glad I pretended you asked that. The overall numbers aren’t any good but over the last five games, Buchholz has been better — much better.

Last 5 Starts

IP
H-BB
ER
K
W-L
QS
ERA
WHIP
35.230-113263-121.090.87

Let’s stick with some facts before we get into opinion. If we’re projecting the rest of 2014 for Clay Buchholz, it might help to know the teams he’ll be facing, right? Assuming he’ll make every fifth start for the Red Sox isn’t necessarily safe for a few reasons.

  1. Buchholz has been rather injury prone throughout his career.
  2. Things can always change, especially in September when the rosters are expanded. I’d actually say a few bumped starts are likely and that view only gets strengthened if the Red Sox don’t get more into the playoff race.

But, as we did with Chris Tillman yesterday, assuming he does make every fifth start, this is the slew of opponents Mr. Buchholz will see.

Remaining Probable Starts

Date
Opponent
July 23at Toronto Blue Jays
July 28vs. Toronto Blue Jays
August 3vs. New York Yankees
August 9at Los Angeles Angels
August 15vs. Houston Astros
August 20vs. Los Angeles Angels
August 25at Toronto Blue Jays
August 31at Tampa Bay Rays
September 5vs. Toronto Blue Jays
September 10vs. Baltimore Orioles
September 16at Pittsburgh Pirates
September 21at Baltimore Orioles
September 27vs. New York Yankees

So, looking at all of the numbers and the projected opponents, what do I think about Clay Buchholz?

What I Like

  • Obviously the walk rate isn’t sustainable, but Buchholz is a good control guy, which is always good. Pitchers who don’t hurt themselves by issuing free passes are often pretty dependable for a good ERA and WHIP.
  • Throughout his career, Buchholz’s home/road splits have been pretty even. Given that he’s got seven home starts and six road starts remaining, home/road consistency is a great thing.
  • I know Clay Buccholz has been a little inconsistent throughout his career, but 2013 wasn’t that long ago. Yes, injuries are a factor, but the guy will be 30 in a few weeks, so while he’s not a youngster, we’re not exactly looking at a guy on his last legs either.

What I Don’t Like

  • As you can see, only two of the last five outings were quality starts. Yes, the overall numbers are phenomenal and I wouldn’t exactly say that the non quality starts were terrible, but it doesn’t offer a lot of start-to-start dependability.
  • I don’t like the remaining opponents, but I really don’t like all of the repeat games. Four times against the Blue Jays, twice against the Angels, twice against the Orioles, and twice against the Yankees (albeit nearly two months apart). Veteran pitchers don’t normally offer many surprises but when teams see them multiple times in short order, it tends to be easier for the hitters to get locked in.

Advice

Sorry, Sox fans. I won’t say I’m a complete pessimist, but I can’t upgrade my view on Clay Buchholz to anything more than cautiously optimistic.

I suppose what action to take depends on what your pitching needs are, but I think it’s best to be wait here, at least until we see what he does against the Blue Jays over these next two outings.

Now, if you can’t wait and your pitching needs the immediate kick, acting quicker may be a better idea. On the other hand, if you need the pitching help, chances are good that a few bad starts will hurt you even more.

There are always hot pitchers on the waiver wire, so I’d take your chances and wait to nab him. If he handles the Blue Jays — especially in the second outing — it answers a few questions. If not, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.

 

Tags: Boston Red Sox Clay Buchholz MLB Starting Pitchers

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