Oct 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcherFelix Doubront
throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth inning during game four of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports
Profile: Felix Doubront came to the Red Sox out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old in 2004. Doubront clawed his way through Boston’s system, spending the better part of five years in the minors, after making his professional début with the now-defunct VSL Red Sox. Doubront is now 25, and under contract for at least the next few seasons as he has yet to enter any of his arbitration years.
The left-handed Doubront possesses a solid arsenal headlined by both a four-seam fastball and a sinker. Doubront supports his heat with a cut fastball, a big curve and a change-up that proves especially effective against right-handed hitters. The big lefty racks up strike outs with a deceptive delivery, but has a tendency to walk a batter or two, especially as he tires out late in games.
2013 in review: For the second year in a row, Doubront showed up to training camp unfit and out of shape. As it did in 2012, the lack of fitness led to an inability to last throughout the year, fading as the Red Sox entered the final months of the season. Doubront also saw, whether a by-product of his conditioning or not, somewhere between two and three mph fall off of each of his five pitches. Despite the reduced velocity in 2013, it was mostly a positive season for Doubront, as he managed to establish himself as one of John Farrell’s most consistent starters. Doubront rattled of 16 straight starts in which he allowed three earned runs or fewer, easily the longest streak of that kind in his young career. Doubront logged a 4.32 ERA, with 161 strikeouts, across a career high 162.1 innings pitched in 2013. Doubront was shifted to a bullpen role for the playoffs thanks to a lack of late-season stamina. Though initially reluctant, the lefty pitched himself to a miniscule 1.29 ERA in seven postseason innings, spread across four contests.
2014 Outlook: Doubront found himself on the outs at the end of 2013, as a lack of early season conditioning caused him to sputter down the stretch. Apparently the Sox were, or were rumored to be, placing a trainer in Venezuela to monitor Felix’s offseason workouts. Though the dip in velocity saw improved results in 2013, another drop would likely cause concern amongst Red Sox Brass. Right now, Doubront slots in as Boston’s fifth starter, with Ryan Dempster likely slated to shift to the bullpen. Barring a trade, it’s not out of the question that Boston could swap the two, instead sending Doubront to the ‘pen.