Here are my thoughts thus far on the 2008 version of the Boston Pilgrims.
- The NESN gun doesn’t seem to be as reliable as in the past. You could usually count on NESN to give more accurate readings than other networks, but this year I’m not sure. The gun has had Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester regularly at 93-94 over the past two home games–something not impossible, but unlikely based on their recent radar gun readings and velocity last year. If they are, in fact, hitting the mid-90s with frequency, that’s great news for the Sox.
- J.D. Drew’s gonna mash. Don’t be surprised if he posts a .300/.400/.500 season with 30 homers and 120 RBI.
- The offense and team depth is quite good. Sean Casey was a nice addition.
- Tough to see Kyle Snyder go, but it had to happen. His fastball’s never coming back, and although he has nice movement on his pitches, his control and command simply aren’t good enough to overcome the five or six mph he lost after his 45747th surgery before coming to Boston. Best of wishes to the guy in the future.
- David Aardsma would seem to be the logical next fall guy once Timlin comes back.
- Daisuke has been a revelation since the first couple innings in Japan. Those two innings were the Daisuke of last year that we hated; since then he’s been the guy we envisioned. If he tries to throw strikes rather than the perfect pitch every time and primarily pitches backwards (which means breaking balls early in the count, fastballs to finish hitters off) he’s going to be a much better pitcher. He has the potential to post a 3.00 or so ERA and a K per frame in 230-240 innings.
- Beckett will be fine once he builds up his stamina.
- Okaji seems to still be doin’ his thang. I think a reasonable season from him will be a 3.00 ERA or so, but he could surprise me and keep it down in the low-2.00s.
- Clay Buchholz is the real deal. He’s got phenomenal stuff. Tim McCarver would probably say “When he has his command he’s got no-hit stuff.” And Joe Buck’s papichulo would be right, for once. Buchholz has four quality pitches, and his fastball is actually the worst of them. If he learns to command the fastball with age he’ll become a bonafied ace–assuming health and all that jazz that suggests there is no such thing as a pitching prospect.
- Hopefully the Sox can get another win against Detroit before the rainy season starts and perhaps cancels the entire Yankee series.