Felix Doubront Showing That He Has A Bright Future With Red Sox

Lost in the hoopla of the Daniel Bard fiasco is the fact that Felix Doubront is quietly becoming one of the best young left-handed starters in the game.  A lot of the focus was on Bard coming into the season but people forget that it was Doubront who actually secured his starting spot before Bard in spring training.  Doubront, not Bard, is the guy who has shown that he has the potential to be a top of the rotation starter in the early part of the season.  At 24 years old Doubront looks to have a very bright future ahead of him.

Doubront has pitched confidently so far this season

In his 12 starts so far this season Doubront has carried a 6-3 record.  He was under a 4.00 ERA for most of the season before getting knocked around by a tough young Nationals lineup on Friday night.  His ERA now stands at 4.34.  Only 10 left-handed starters in the American League boast a better ERA.  Doubront has been a K machine so far this season as well.  He’s struck out 72 men in his 66 1/3 innings pitched.  5 lefties in the majors have more strikeouts than him – C.C. Sabathia, Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez, Johan Santana, and C.J. Wilson.  That’s some pretty good company.  Even in a game where he only lasted 4 innings on Friday night against the Nationals Doubront struck out 6 guys.  He averages 9.77 strikeouts per 9 innings.  That is better than every left-handed starter in the American League and only Gio Gonzalez averages more K/9 as a left-handed starter in the entire majors.  If you factor in right-handed starters as well only Detroit’s Max Scherzer has a better K/9 rate than Doubront in the American League.

The key to a lot of Doubront’s early success has been the same thing that has failed Daniel Bard and some of the other Sox starters – he throws strikes early in counts and gets ahead of hitters.  He’s not afraid to stay around the strike zone.  A guy like Daniel Bard nibbles too much early instead of going right after hitters with his power stuff.  Doubront comes out early and pounds the strike zone.  He has looked very much like Jon Lester did when he came up to the team in 2008 and became a top of the rotation guy (if only Lester would start to look like that guy again).  Doubront’s consistency has been key so far in an inconsistent Red Sox rotation.  He has 7 quality starts in 12 outings.  Only Josh Beckett has more quality starts on the Red Sox staff with 8.  Most of Doubront’s numbers trail only Beckett’s and it’s clear that Doubront has been the second best starting pitcher on the Red Sox staff so far in 2012.  That’s not bad for a guy that had only 3 career starts coming into this season and none since 2010.

Doubront has pitched like one of the top LHP in the AL

People didn’t notice Doubront at the start of the season even though he out-pitched Daniel Bard and every other pitcher going for a rotation spot in spring training.  At this point in time it seems like the future is much brighter for Doubront than it is for Bard.  Doubront is two years younger than Bard and is already showing that he can be a successful big league starter.  Bard hasn’t even proven if he can be a consistent set-up man, let alone closer or starter.

If the Red Sox want to stay in the pennant race then Felix Doubront will have to stay consistent.  His last outing was disappointing but he still K’ed 6 against a tough lineup.  He is 2-1 against the American League East so far and should be 3-1 if the bullpen didn’t blow the 9-1 lead that he left them with in his 1 start against the Yankees.  Lester and Buchholz had inconsistent starts.  If they can come around and Doubront keeps up his pace it’s hard to imagine the Sox not staying in the race, particularly when they get key hitters back from injuries.  Daniel Bard may have been a failure for the Sox but Doubront has been a great success.  And it looks like he may be around for a long time.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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