Bold Predictions for 2013, Part 1 — The Pitchers

With 19 days to go before pitchers and catchers officially report, let’s pass some of the long cold winter weeks by making some bold (and not so bold) predictions for the season ahead.

Was 2012 an aberration for Jon Lester or a sign of things to come? (Kelly O’Connor – sittingstill.net)

Part 1: The Pitchers

Part 2: The Batters (1/31)

Part 3: The League (2/7)

Disclaimers:

1) Please feel free to bookmark this and come back later in September/October to see how I did — you know that if I hit on a few of them you’re going to hear about it.

2) Before you waste your keyboard clicks hating me please know that I will be rooting for some of these predictions and against some others, but it wouldn’t be much fun (or very accurate) if I only predicted good things to happen to the Red Sox this season.

The Pitcher Predictions

  • Clay Buchholz will edge out Jon Lester to lead the team in wins.
  • No Red Sox pitcher will win more than 17 games.
  • Free Agent acquisition Ryan Dempster will lead the team in innings pitched.
  • Lester, Buchholz, and Dempster will combine to pitch over 600 innings, keeping the Red Sox bullpen significantly fresher than recent seasons.
  • John Lackey will lead the team in showing up his fielders on the mound.
  • Before the end of January, I will already be growing weary of the “Hey, everybody John Lackey is in great shape and says he feels awesome” angle. Sorry Lackey, but in my book you and benefit of the doubt stopped associating together a long time ago. (Already done. I had to ensure I would get at least one of these predictions right.)
  • If Lackey actually pitches well I will develop new reasons to hate him as the season progresses.
  • Lester will not lead the team in hits, runs, earned runs, and home runs surrendered, as he did in 2012.
  • Lester will lead the team in showing up the home plate umpire any time he doesn’t like the called strike zone. (This is my by far my biggest issue with Lester, and something that he needs to work on. It doesn’t help the situation, ever.)
  • Dempster’s absurdly annoying glove twitching windup will be a constant source of aggravation in my house every 5 days.
  • I will be abundantly willing to get over that aggravation for 15 wins, 200 innings pitched, and a WAR in the neighborhood of 3.0.
  • I will not miss seeing Daisuke Matsuzaka cowardly nibbling around the edges of the strike zone for 30 pitch innings for one single moment. You shouldn’t either.
  • Neither of the two pitchers who were 5th and 6th in games started for the 2012 team (Aaron Cook and Matsuzaka) will start a game in the Major Leagues in 2013.
  • Rubby De La Rosa will be the first starter called up from Pawtucket to Boston.
  • The Red Sox Bullpen will be Top 3 in American League Bullpen ERA.
  • The bullpen will not blow any 9-0 leads.
  • For the second year in a row, Junichi Tazawa will be one of the most reliable options out of the Boston bullpen.
  • Newly acquired closer Joel Hanrahan will save 40+ games. Most of them will take years off of your life, but he will be a Top 5 American League closer.
  • Andrew Bailey will make a minimum of one trip to the disabled list.
  • Daniel Bard will spend the entire season on a major league roster, and by Memorial Day his return to prominence will be a major storyline.
  • People will make significantly less Daniel Bard/Rick Ankiel jokes than they did last year.
  • The Mark Melancon that pitches for the Pirates will resemble September’s Mark Melancon much more than April’s Mark Melancon.
  • Mark Teixeira will breathe a huge sigh of relief that he no longer has to face Vicente Padilla’s team 18 times a year.
  • With Padilla in Japan, Alfredo Aceves will return to his rightful role as the craziest and least stable pitcher on the team.
  • Aceves will be designated for assignment before the start of the summer. The bullpen is too talented and deep this year to deal with his moody, enigmatic act. Thanks for being the only decent pitcher on the team in September 2011, Alfredo, but your time is up.
  • At no point will any Red Sox fans utter the words “I wish that Aceves was still the closer.”
  • In 2012, the Red Sox used 26 different pitchers and 9 starters. Both of those numbers will be lower in 2013.
  • Those 9 starters (Lester, Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Beckett, Cook, Matsuzaka, Bard, Franklin Morales, and Zach Stewart) combined for 49 wins. The starters in 2013 will top 65 wins.

Categories: Aaron Cook Alfredo Aceves Andrew Bailey Boston Red Sox Clay Buchholz Daisuke Matsuzaka Daniel Bard Felix Doubront Franklin Morales Joel Hanrahan John Lackey Jon Lester Junichi Tazawa Mark Melancon Mark Teixeira Rick Ankiel Rubby de la Rosa Ryan Dempster Vicente Padilla Zach Stewart

I'm a native Mainer and life-long Red Sox fan living among way too many Yankees fans in New York. I spent most of my childhood convinced that Spike Owen was going to be awesome, sooner or later. The last time I punched a wall was October 16, 2003. My bucket list included personally thanking a Red Sox player for 2004, something I was finally able to check off when I met Trot Nixon. Follow @JK7_

7 Responses to “Bold Predictions for 2013, Part 1 — The Pitchers” Subscribe

  1. Gerry January 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM #

    No Doubie love?

    • Jack Keller January 24, 2013 at 2:53 PM #

      Gerry — you are right and I knew I was making the omission! I started about 10 different predictions with him, but I just can't settle on if I think he will build on last season and progress or if he was a one year flash in the pan. I certainly hope that he makes an incremental jump from last season to this season. There will be an article on the site about him tomorrow and what we can expect from him in 2013 — I'm looking forward to reading that because I have no idea where to peg him for next season.

  2. AAD January 24, 2013 at 3:26 PM #

    You are dreaming if you think buchholz throws over 200 innings and lead the team in wins. His 2010 was a fluke, and I fully believe him not living up to expectations has been the biggest hit to the Red Sox the last 3 years. They shelled out a four year 30 mil extension because they thought he would maje the leap. They expected him to be a 200 inning fireballer that could anchor a rotation, similar to Beckett from 07-09, and Lester from 08-11. Instead, what he is is an injury prone pitch-to-contact mid rotation starter. Mark my words, Lackey will throw more innings and have a better overall year than Clay Buchholz.

    Red Sox Nation still views Buchholz as the flamethrower that threw the no hitter in 2007. He is not that pitcher anymore, he is a mediocre back of the rotation starter, and note even one who can be an innings eater.

    • Jack Keller January 24, 2013 at 5:29 PM #

      AAD — I don't think it's "dreaming". He threw 189 last year, so 200 isn't exactly an off the wall projection. Plus, I didn't say he would have 200, I said the 3 would have 600. If Dempster & Lester throw for 210 then suddenly Buchholz only needs 180.

      As far as the wins, I have him between 15-17, again, I'm not claiming he'll win 22 and the Cy Young, but 2 of his last 3 seasons have been solid.

      We'll see…you definitely could be right, but to be in the mid to upper teens in wins and close to 200 in innings are both reasonable goals for Buchholz in my book.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Gerry January 27, 2013 at 3:12 AM #

        Further, a year away from his back fracture and life threatening internal bleeding (pure fortitude to do well in 2012 after that), plus Farrell, Nieves, Pedro, Ross & Tek as support rather than BV and distracted coaches, and he really should be at least as good as his long post injury good spell just months ago. IMO he and Lester could both, in this environment, have very good years.

    • Jack Keller April 14, 2013 at 4:24 PM #

      Hey AAD – I'm marking your words, as your requested.

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