Will Clay Buchholz Be the Jon Lester of 2009?

Nick CovielloCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2009

With the news of Brad Penny’s fatigued shoulder surfacing, it is becoming more and more apparent why the Red Sox were so hesitant to trade Clay Buchholz over the offseason.

If the Sox believed that Buchholz had not made good strides over the winter, you better believe the front office would be willing to discuss certain deals surrounding Clay as the centerpiece. After all, the Sox were in need of a catcher, and with the signings of both veterans Penny and John Smoltz, they added an amazing amount of depth in the rotation.

However, it appears that the only “Red Sox veteran” will be getting the nod as the fifth starter to begin the season, or that’s what many believe anyways.

By now, Buchholz should be a household name in every Red Sox fan's home, and while he’s had a roller coaster ride so far, it’s only just beginning for the young starting pitcher.

Everyone learned Clay’s name when he no-hit the Baltimore Orioles in one of his first Major League starts, and everyone learned to hate his name during the 2008 season when it seemed he could not keep the ball in the yard.

During the course of the 2008 season, many questioned Buchholz's mentality, as it did not appear he was struggling with mechanics. A few even deemed Buchholz a lost cause, while others simply claimed he wasn’t ready.

Buchholz finished the 2008 season in the minors and was quickly forgotten. Over the course of the offseason, his name was rarely mentioned besides trade talks.

But it is no secret that Buchholz has been working all offseason, and the news that he’s becoming more comfortable and gaining confidence will be a huge boost for him. While they are two different pitchers, it seems both Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester went through the same problems.

Both Lester and Buchholz tried to be too precise with each of their pitches. Many times, Lester would run the count full after being ahead of the hitters and would have a high pitch count by the fifth inning.

Buchholz, obviously observing Lester, tried to learn from the mistake of being too precise, but instead left far too many pitches over the plate and got knocked around instead of losing hitters.

Lastly, both Buchholz and Lester struggled to gain confidence in both themselves and their pitches.

But I’d say Lester looks all right, don’tcha think?

There’s no way to predict for sure whether or not Buchholz will find success this season, and comparing him to Lester will only get one so far. However, it is obvious that Clay has taken some great strides this offseason, and he will be getting another chance to prove his worth much sooner than any of us (besides maybe the front office) would have imagined.