3. Clay Buchholz (2010 and 2013)
In 2005, the Red Sox obtained a compensatory pick after losing Hall of Fame Pedro Martinez to the Mets. This pick turned out to be Clay Buchholz – a scenario which didn’t turn out to be all that bad. Buchholz was a part of the Red Sox organization for twelve years. His ten-year tenure in the majors during that time saw him get two All-Star appearances, two World Series rings, not to mention the fact that he threw an immaculate inning and a no-hitter.
Buchholz was a fan favorite and by all means exceeded his expectations with the Red Sox. Over his career, the two All-Star seasons of 2010 and 2013 stand out the very most. The 2010 season was where Buchholz made his mark on the majors, and became a household name. In a season which saw the guy finish sixth in Cy Young voting, he led the majors in ERA+ with 187.
Now, during the 2013 season, Buchholz endured a number of injury problems which limited him to just 16 starts on the year. But, the innings he did pitch were absolutely lights out. And if it weren’t for his injuries this season would be considered much more highly than it already is.
Over 108.1 innings pitched in his 16 games, Buchholz notched up a 12-1 season from the mound. He had a 1.74 ERA, a 237 ERA+ and a 1.205 WHIP. Because he only pitched about half the season, this won’t get the recognition it deserves, but compared with other Red Sox pitchers in history that ERA+ ranks fourth of all time, behind just Pedro Martinez’s 1999 and 2000 seasons and Dutch Leonard‘s 1914 year.
2013 will be remembered for other reasons, and rightly so, but that just goes to show how special a year 2013 was for Buchholz, and how special the pitching that he displayed over those 16 games really was.