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Felix’s Flaw: The Boston Red Sox Starter May See Some Bullpen Time

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May.08/2013

Felix Doubront had 167 K's in 2012 in just 161 IP, but he also had 71 BB's in that same span. His K/9 and BB/9 rates have both climbed slightly in the small sample size that has been his 2013 season to this point.

Felix Doubront had 167 K’s in 2012 in just 161 IP, but he also had 71 BB’s in that same span. His K/9 and BB/9 rates have both climbed slightly in the small sample size that has been his 2013 season to this point.  Surprisingly, Doubront was the clubs best pitcher in 2012.  He hasn’t been so lucky in his second go around of the Major Leagues.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent): 

Per usual, I had a good start on an article for the week that I had to put on hold. Something always seems to come up, and this week it is the Starting Pitcher from Friday night’s game.

Felix Doubront, 25 Year Old southpaw from Carabobo Venezuela, had a rough night this past Friday. He lasted just 3.2 IP and exited after surrendering 12 Hits, 6 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, and managing only 2 Strikeouts on the night.

Doubront now has a 5.67 ERA through 5 Starts this year. During his promising rookie campaign in 2012 his season ERA was only 4.86. 

In the video you can see at about the 45 second mark he strikes out the side in the 3rd inning using each of his pitches for the punch-out’s. 1st on the curve, 2nd his fastball, and 3rd his changeup. A flash of his promise.

In the video you can see at about the 45 second mark he strikes out the side in the 3rd inning using each of his pitches for the punch-out’s. 1st on the curve, 2nd his fastball, and 3rd his changeup. A flash of his promise.

He had a great start to 2012 and was clearly wearing down toward the end of the season which often happens to young pitchers during a long 162 game grind.

I have always been high on Felix Doubront as a prospect, just as I have been with Jose Iglesias. The upside with Doubront is evident. He had 9.3 K/9 in 2012 and 10.3 so far in 2013. He can miss bats, but that may also be his achilles heel.

His biggest flaw is absolutely his inability to go deep into ball games. In 2012 he threw 161 Innings in 29 Starts (slightly more than 5.5 IP/Game). This season he is up to 27 IP in 5 Starts (a little less than 5.5 IP/Game).

Doubront averaged 17.8 Pitches/Inning in 2012 and 18.8 so far in 2013. He needs to be more economical in his starts in order to really help the team and maybe that means pitching to contact more.

Maybe it doesn’t, but putting a lot of innings on the bullpen is not helping the team, just like allowing over 5 and a half runs per 9 IP isn’t, although he does still sport a 3-1 record.

It was reported that Doubront showed up to camp in less than desirable condition this Spring. That may be to blame for some of the problems, but he had this problem last year when he seemed to be in pretty good shape as he came in to Spring Training on a mission to earn a role in the Starting Rotation.

Doubront isn’t a stranger to these conditioning issues as a lot of people would say that being out of shape contributed to injuries in seasons prior to 2012, which slowed his development for sure.

It could also contribute to him wearing down in games in which he is averaging 102 pitches per start this season. He averaged 99 per start last season. Cardiovascular endurance really isn’t too important in baseball, but if there is one place it is, that would be for starting pitchers.

This struggle could be a great lesson for Doubront as it will hopefully motivate him to get in better shape. He pitched on the same staff as Josh Beckett who was constantly called out for not following the conditioning program he should have been so he should know how important it is for a ball player.

Doubront was the 2009 Portland Sea Dogs Pitcher of the Year at 21 Years of Age. He beat out familiar face Junichi Tazawa for the award. Tazawa was still a starter back then.

Doubront was the 2009 Portland Sea Dogs Pitcher of the Year at 21 Years of Age. He beat out familiar face Junichi Tazawa for the award. Tazawa was still a starter back then.

Unlike last season, this year the Red Sox actually have some options to replace Doubront so it is of the utmost importance that he correct his ineffectiveness and pitch count problems.

I guarantee it is the last thing the Red Sox would like to do because Doubront is definitely in their long term plans, but they have Allen Webster in Pawtucket, waiting for another chance.

I absolutely do not think that is the answer, but I do think it should give Felix some motivation… As I sit here finishing up this article I have been updated on some breaking news.

I’m hearing word that Webster has been recalled to fill the vacant spot on the 25 Man Roster left by the injured Joel Hanrahan who is headed for the 15 day DL.

I’ve also heard he will be starting and Doubront will be in the Bullpen for the time being.

It seems my thought came to fruition today. This move shows the Red Sox are clearly high on Allen Webster.

It is not clear how long Doubront will be in the pen, but it will be for at least 1 go-around in the rotation.

This supports what I was saying about Doubront needing to fight to keep his spot by correcting his problems.

The Red Sox have a pleather of arms even after Webster at their disposal and a lot of them can move up and down between AAA and the Majors.

Some of them have been on and off the DL so far this year too. Doubront really had no worries last season with the way things were going for other Red Sox pitchers, but again, 2013 is a different story.

This comparison may be a stretch, but I see a little Johan Santana in Felix Doubront. He is a lefty with a smooth delivery and solid velocity (velocity was a little better last season than this).

He has a good breaking ball and changeup too. He has the swing and miss kind of stuff Santana was so successful with. Santana also took a while to put it all together as he was actually a Rule 5 pick back in the day.

To wrap this article up, would I say Doubront is a sure fired ace in the making? No, but I think he has the potential to be if he dedicates himself to improving every year and works on controlling his pitch counts especially.

I think he is at the very least a potentially strong #3 on a good ball club. He is so close to realizing his potential it would be a shame if he never got there.

Bottom line for Doubront are the two "E" words. Efficiency and Effectiveness. All really good Major League pitchers have both, and Felix has only shown us effectiveness to this point. He has never went more than 7 IP in a game, and going 7 is usually a rare occasion.

Bottom line for Doubront are the two “E” words. Efficiency and Effectiveness. All really good Major League pitchers have both, and Felix has only shown us effectiveness to this point. He has never went more than 7 IP in a game, and going 7 is usually a rare occasion.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to our baseball writer Ryan Dana for preparing today’s featured article.  Ryan is junior studying physical education with a concentration in coaching at Bridgewater State University. He has been playing baseball since he was 7 and coaching since he was 14.

Ryan wants to be a college baseball coach once he graduates.  Ryan is, and always will be, a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. Secondary to baseball, he is a big health and fitness enthusiast. You can find Ryan on Twitter . .

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Posted on May 8, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Felix’s Flaw: The Boston Red Sox Starter May See Some Bullpen Time.

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