Youthful Sox Fun to Watch

The ladies like watching young studs like Jacoby Ellsbury too.

Although Tim Wakefield is both a valuable commodity and a respected veteran, I have to admit, I loathe watching his starts. When I go to Sox games, I pray (actually I merely hope whole-heartedly, since I doubt there’s a God out there with the assigned task of monitoring sports fans’ every desire) that I get someone else’s start–watching Wake is almost as bad as watching Daisuke on one of his bad days.

My issue with the Nation’s elder statesman (I don’t support using the term “Nation” but it was such a nice phrase I couldn’t pass it up) is boredom. Honestly, while his knuckleball is probably the single most unique pitch in baseball, it’s not overly interesting. Next time I want to see someone throw low-70s fastballs and most pitches in the 60s I’ll watch a tape of myself.

All this bemoaning another man making a living has a point, one I’m just now getting around to. The Red Sox have become the developmental machine GM Theo Epstein envisioned when he took over the front office a handful of years ago.

Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, Craig Hansen, Justin Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia have been prominently featured thus far in 2008. That’s a whopping eleven homegrown products, and it doesn’t even factor in Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, both MLB virgins before coming to Titletown, or Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, whom Boston acquired by sending a small squadron of talented youngsters down to Miami during Epstein’s brief hiatus as a gorilla.

Furthmore, several potential impact players bide their time in the minors as you read, such as next year’s likely Tek replacement/new caddy, George Kottaras, a couple more intriguing arms in Michael Bowden and Daniel Bard, and middle of the order bat of the future Lars Anderson. Within a few years the team could boast upwards of 15 or more original Sox on its 25 man roster–quite a change from the group of primarily mercenary mashers/mound-mystifiers of 2004.

Does it really matter who gets the job done so long as it gets done? Not so much, but at least for me, it’ll be a lot more entertaining watching insiders perform their perfuntory physical tasks with electric fastballs and blazing speed over wily old men whose fastballs I could hit.

Viva la juventud!

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