Felix Doubront seems to be the forgotten man as the curtain rises on the Red Sox in spring training.
All winter long we’ve heard that the Red Sox have six starters for five spots in the rotation. And we’ve constantly been reminded of those first five names: Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, Peavy and Dempster.
But how is Doubront not included in the first five? He is coming off a spectacular performance in the World Series in which he basically saved the Red Sox’ bacon.
Oct 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Felix 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
As Gordon Edes reports, Doubront picked up a shaky Jake Peavy in Game 3 after four innings and was effective in his fifth and sixth inning stint even though the Red Sox lost 5-4 in the Will Middlebrooks interference fiasco.
Then, the next night, manager John Farrell turned to Doubront again in Game 4 after Clay Buchholz slogged through the first four innings and Felix kept the Sox in the game long enough for David Ortiz‘ dugout speech and Jonny Gomes‘ clutch three-run homer to matter enough to turn the series dramatically in the Sox’ favor.
Doubront’s contributions were so important in a road environment that I’d argue if it wasn’t for Ortiz, Doubront could have merited Series MVP consideration. He was right in the middle of the Sox setting up their series win.
So, again I ask, how is Doubront not mentioned in the first five? If you are sleeping on the potential in Doubront’s left arm you are missing the boat.
For one thing, he’s left handed and in baseball that always matters. Especially if you can pitch as Doubront has at the times in which he’s looked as good as Jon Lester.
Plus he’s still only 26 years old and seems to be maturing. Doubront knows how many young pitchers are behind him in camp waiting to take his rotation spot. I’d say focus should not be a problem for him anymore.
Edes’ article also says that Doubront enters camp in the best shape of his career and is brimming with confidence because of the trust Farrell showed in him in big spots in the World Series.
If you ask me, I think it all adds up to a big year for Doubront in which he finally reaches the full potential management has waited to see for so long. Namely, that he becomes Lester 2.0 or reasonably close to it.
I’m really rooting for this to happen. I was extremely proud and happy for Doubront in the World Series last year because I’ve always felt he’s been overlooked on this team by the fan base. When he is on, his stuff is as good as anyone’s and I was elated that he got to show that to the entire nation last October.
So before we anoint one of the kids such as Henry Owens or Allen Webster as the next big thing in the rotation, let’s remember the Sox may already have the next future star in place in their rotation. He wears number 22.