40 Man Roster Review: Felix Doubront

With Spring Training less than a month away, the Red Sox 40 Man Roster should be fairly set until the end of camp. I'll take this opportunity to review the entire roster. Lets face it, there's not much else going on. 

If you look up "#5 starter" in the dictionary there should be Felix Doubront's stat line from 2012.  In 29 starts he gave the club 161 innings of work that was by and large a tick below average.  He did all that can be expected of a back-end starter:  he gave the club a chance to win games.  Despite his below average ERA and WHIP, the Red Sox were 17-12 in Doubront's starts.

Felix Doubront had a solid 1st full season in the Red Sox Rotation.
Doubront only had 15 Quality Starts last season.  This was due in large part to his inability to pitch deeper into games.  Doubront only exceeded six innings in seven of his starts.  His strikeout and walk rates were both high causing him to run up high pitch counts.  Doubront's control is average and he does not have a pitch he can use to induce weak contact.  Again, there aren't many back end starters who hit the 200 inning plateau.  Grading on a curve I'd give Doubront a B or a B- in his first full-season as a major league starting pitcher.

He gave the club more of less what they were expecting headed into the season.  Doubront made the rotation last season based in part on a solid spring in 2012, as opposed to 2011 when he showed up out of shape following a promising 2010 debut.  Doubront was also out of options.  With nobody available clearly superior to the young lefty it made perfect sense to see what he could do with an extended run in the rotation.

Entering his age 25 chances are Felix Doubront already is what he is going to be.  Maybe with a full year of starting under his belt, John Farrell will let his pitch counts run a little higher.  In 2012 Doubront had days where he commanded his fastball and had good feel for his secondary pitches and was quite impressive.  Conversely he had days where his control wasn't quite as sharp and the results weren't great.   If Doubront is going to take a step forward it will be because of improved consistency on the mound.

At the moment the Red Sox rotation is more of less set in stone as Doubront figures to be the number four or five starter.  If Lester gets the ball on Opening Day, Farrell may have either John Lackey (remember him?!?) or Ryan Dempster start the season as the number five solely to break up his two southpaws.  If Doubront is more consistent and healthy he should spend the year in the rotation. 

Unlike 2012, the Red Sox have two prospects who will be pushing for a spot in the major league rotation in Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster.  If in June or July, Doubront's ERA is in the high fours, while one of the prospects is mowing down batters in Pawtucket, Doubront may end up back in the bullpen where his stuff should play up.  Doubront could also be trade bait if one or both of them are knocking on the door. More than likely the kids will only be called when one of the starters goes on the DL.  These things as they say have a tendency to work themselves out. We all remember the last time the Red Sox traded a "surplus" starting pitcher.

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