Boston Red Sox: Predicting the 2012 Stats of Every Starting Pitcher

Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIFebruary 25, 2012

Boston Red Sox: Predicting the 2012 Stats of Every Starting Pitcher

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    In Boston the weather has been a tease this week.  

    Two days ago the temps were in the mid 50's. Yesterday, it snowed. The Fenway Faithful are starting to salivate for the start of the 2012 season. The team was disgraced last year. Hopefully that means there is a chip on the shoulder of many men on this roster.

    Most of all, the pitchers.

    With a lot to prove and a fanbase anxious for baseball, here is a look at what we can expect from the starting pitchers in 2012.

Josh Beckett

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    2011 Statistics

    13-7, 2.89 ERA, 1.026 WHIP, 30 starts, 193 innings pitched, 175 strikeouts.

    2012 Projection

    17-9, 3.26 ERA, 1.148 WHIP, 31 starts, 203.2 innings pitched, 183 strikeouts.

    What he did in 2011:

    Believe it or not, Josh Beckett had his best statistical season as a major league pitcher in 2011.  Sure, he's won more games (20 back in 2007) and he's had more strikeouts (199 in 2009, 194 in 2007) but he was the complete package for the Red Sox until September rolled around.

    Beckett was "one of the gang" so to speak, and was tied into the chicken and beer fiasco.  He can say that it had no impact on his play, but numbers don't lie.  Going 1-2 in your last four games with a 5.48 doesn't exactly scream self-control.

    What he'll do in 2012:

    The one thing that drives me insane is the argument people come up with that Beckett will have a poor year in 2012 because he was good in 2011.

    That makes about as much sense as a solar powered flashlight.

    Beckett is a proud Texan who is pissed off.  He will come out with guns a-blazin' and rival the season he had in 2011, except he won't falter down the stretch.  That you can be sure of.

Jon Lester

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    2011 Statistics

    15-9, 3.47 ERA, 1.257 WHIP, 31 starts, 191.2 innings pitched, 182 strikeouts.

    2012 Projection

    21-5, 2.94 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, 33 starts, 216 innings pitched, 193 strikeouts.

    What he did in 2011:

    Last season Lester continued being a .650 or better pitcher for the Red Sox, offering solid production behind ace Josh Beckett in the No. 2 hole.  He, like Beckett, saw a terrible September unfold before him.

    While being a stud most of the season, in his final six games, Lester would go 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA. Also tied in with the C&B scandal, the numbers don't lie.

    What he'll do in 2012:

    They say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I think 2012 is the year that Lester finally takes the reigns over from Beckett as the ace of this pitching staff.

    I think Lester has the potential to be the American League Cy Young winner in 2012.  It really isn't too far-fetched considering that he has won more games than Beckett since 2008 and last season, prior to September, Lester was 14-5 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.154 WHIP.  

    If he comes back with an attitude about him, I think he could be in the conversation with Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia and Jered Weaver as a potential Cy Young winner.  There, I've said it.

Clay Buchholz

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    2011 Statistics

    6-3. 3.48 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, 14 starts, 82.2 innings pitched, 60 strikeouts.

    2012 Projection

    13-8, 3.55 ERA, 1.267 WHIP, 30 starts, 173.2 innings pitched, 134 strikeouts.

    What he did in 2011:

    Honestly, in 2011 Buchholz pitched okay, got injured and then partook in the C&B debacle that his teammates and Texas brethren engaged in.  Does that sum it up succinctly? 

    What he'll do in 2012:

    Time for the kid to grow up. While critics have always felt that Buchholz is good, he's never shown that he could be great.  Many might find my projection for him to be a bit low, and I can understand that perspective.  

    However, Buchholz has not shown me anything in five seasons to convince me that he's capable of replicating the 17 wins he offered up in 2010.

    Don't get me wrong, if he can I'll chalk it up as a bonus.

Daniel Bard

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    2011 Statistics

    2-9, 3.33 ERA, 0.959 WHIP, zero starts, 73 innings pitched, 74 strikeouts, (70 total appearances, one save).

    2012 Projections

    8-10, 3.55 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, 28 starts, 151.2 innings pitched, 123 strikeouts.

    What he did in 2011:

    Generally speaking, he stopped the bleeding.  

    Bard was a mainstay in the bullpen and was counted on and utilized a bit more than he should have been. Naturally hindsight is 20/20 in that regard.

    Joining the likes of the rest of last year's starters, Bard also imploded in September, posting an awful 10.64 ERA in 11 games.  Ouch.

    What he will do in 2012:

    Tough to say, really.  While Bard seems to lack the closer "mentality" he also has limited pitches in his repertoire.  

    Providing that he's been developing a third and possibly fourth pitch this winter, I can see him racking up some decent numbers, but nothing otherworldly in his first full season as a starter.

Daisuke Matsuzaka

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    2011 Statistics:

    3-3, 5.30 ERA, 1.473 WHIP, 7 games started (8 total appearances), 37.1 innings, 26 strikeouts.

    2012 Projections:

    7-5, 4.24 ERA, 1.328 WHIP, 16 starts, 93.2 innings, 84 strikeouts.

    What he did in 2011:

    Not much, as his stat line shows.  He knew at the beginning of the season that something didn't quite feel right and requested Tommy John surgery.

    What he'll do in 2012:

    It appears as though Matsuzaka will return from his surgery sooner than expected.  While I don't see the Sox rushing him back, I think he's going to rack up the most starts out of the fifth spot out of any other option.

    Who knew that Sox fans would be clamoring for the return of Dice-K over watching another John Lackey year?

Felix Doubront

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    2011 Statistics:

    0-0, 6.10 ERA, 1.935 WHIP, 11 games (zero starts), 10.1 innings pitched, six strikeouts.

    2012 Projections:

    5-6, 5.10 ERA, 1.656 WHIP, 14 games started, 71.2 innings pitched, 43 strikeouts.

    What he did in 2011:

    Once again, not much, as his stat line shows.  However, Doubront was valuable down the stretch in 2010 and has shown that he can be a solid performer for the Red Sox.

    What he'll do in 2012:

    I am taking a complete shot in the dark that Doubront will win the fifth spot during spring training.  I feel as though the kid's time is now. If he doesn't make it now, he'll likely be traded.

    What the Sox will need from him is about 14 starts or so to allow Matsuzaka some time to ease back into the majors.

    Will he be up to the task?  We'll just have to wait and see.