Boston's Clay Buchholz is the Biggest Waste of Talent in Baseball

If you’re a fan of the Boston Red Sox, you probably already have some idea of what I’m talking about after reading the title, but let me break it down for those who are not members of the Fenway Faithful. Early in his career, Clay Buchholz dazzled fans with flashes of his dominant stuff, leading many to believe that he could one day be one of baseball’s elite starting pitchers.

From a pure talent perspective, one would have been completely justified in thinking that. Clay Buchholz has a variety of effective pitches and is able to strikeout opposing hitters as well as induce groundball outs. From the day he stepped foot in Boston (a day on which he threw a no-hitter), Buchholz has teased Red Sox fans with performances much like those you would expect from an ace.

Coming up in a rotation that consisted of veterans like Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Tim Wakefield, Clay Buchholz was given what was seemingly a perfect situation to develop from a young, promising pitcher to the dominant Major League starter that he could be.

But, much like the rest of his career, the expected did not happen for Buchholz, as he failed to elevate his game to the point that many thought he would to under the tutelage of a great group of experienced pitchers. Aside from a 12-1, injury-plagued 2013 season, and a 17-7 2010 campaign, Clay’s tenure as a member of the Boston Red Sox has been a massive disappointment.

For his career, Buchholz is a mere twenty game over .500 at 73-53, and has a lifetime ERA near 4.00. Now, you may think I’m crazy for telling you that a guy who goes 14-10 on the average season is a massive disappointment, but with the talent and potential the Buchholz possess, that statement is completely justified.

If you follow the team closely enough, you notice a pattern regarding Clay’s stats. With a pitcher with stats similar to Buchholz’s, you might assume that the player is at the very least a solid number three starter on a good team. But Clay’s stats are a bit misleading.

Just about every year, Clay Buchholz starts the season red-hot. He goes out and puts up a couple of good outings, once again reigniting the hype surrounding him. Then, he has a few rough outings, but follows them up with a two month period of flat-out great pitching. Just as everyone is starting to believe in him once again, the pressure becomes too much, and he gets his head beat in for a few starts before hitting the disabled list with some kind of “injury.”

With the number of good starts usually outnumbering the poor ones, Clay’s stat-line gives the casual observer the false impression that Buchholz had a good year. Meanwhile, the rest of us are left shaking our heads, knowing that it could not possibly be further from the truth.

Clay Buchholz is an incredibly talented Major League pitcher. He has all of the tools to be an elite starter in the big leagues, but can’t seem to put it together. A large part of that is credited to his extremely fragile mental state when on the mound, and it’s a real shame that Clay can’t find some way to get it together between the ears and recognize the potential that he has shown us on countless occasions.

Unless Clay Buchholz somehow figures out how to put it all together and live up to his talent, he may very well go down as one of baseball’s great “what-if’s”.

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