Top 100 Baseball Blog

Friday, May 30, 2014

Jon Lester Situation Forcing Red Sox Into Big Payout One Way or Another

This article was originally published at

Having recently endured a ten-game losing streak that saw them tumble briefly into the basement of the American League East, the Boston Red Sox have many concerns about the here and now- even after winning their next four and counting. The future of impending free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester should be an area of major worry, as no matter what happens with him, the team is faced with a situation that is almost certain to result in huge payout of one kind or another.

The 30-year-old left-handed Lester is one of the best pitchers in Red Sox history. In a nine-year career, he has gone a combined 105-62 with a 3.74 ERA and 1,320 strikeouts, serving primarily as the team’s ace. He has done so with class and dignity that began with his ongoing successful bout with cance as a youngster. That and the two World Series titles he has won with the team—including going 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in the Fall Classic has earned him the admiration of Red Sox Nation.

Sadly, there is a chance that 2014 could be Lester’s last season in Boston. He is due to become a free agent this winter and seems destined to hit the open market. Although’s Dan Szymborski wrote an article (subscription required) projecting that the southpaw is worth potentially as much as a six-year, $145 million contract, Lester previously indicated he might be willing to take a bit of a hometown discount to remain with the organization that drafted him.

It turns out that hometown discount is one of those relative terms that can mean different things to different people. That became apparent when Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this season that the Red Sox offered Lester a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $70-$80 million- which was not accepted.

With Lester facing the possibility of making Kardashian money this offseason, the Red Sox have a situation where they are almost definitely going to have to lay out a ton of cash. If not for their lefty, then for his replacement, as his departure would leave a gaping hole at the top of the rotation.
Currently, the Red Sox have Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Felix Doubront as starters under contract for 2015. Lackey and Doubront have proven they can be mid-to-end of rotation hurlers, but they are not guys who profile as number ones.

Buchholz has ace potential, but has battled injuries and inconsistency throughout his career. At 2-4 with a 7.02 ERA thus far in 2014, he is currently on the disabled list and may not even be in the rotation much longer if he doesn’t turn things around when he returns.

Boston has some intriguing pitching prospects like Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Matt Barnes, Anthony Renaudo and Henry Owens, but none of them are sure things (or necessarily aces) and some still need some time down on the farm to get major league-ready.

Simply put, if the Red Sox don’t bring Lester back, they will need to find an ace somewhere. As one of the majors’ frontline franchises, they expect to compete every year. There is no realistic way to do that without a strong starting rotation that needs a proven horse at the top.

Lester could absolutely be on the level when he says he might take less money to remain in Boston. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that he will shortchange himself too much with the potential riches at his grasp. As a battle-tested lefty with years of success under his belt, he should have a plethora of teams laying out an assortment of their finest wines and cheeses to try and lure him away.

Unfortunately, once the words “hometown discount” have been uttered by a player, that usually holds to a ridiculous standard that portrays them as somehow selfish if they don’t sign a below-market deal. Lester should not be thought of in that way if he chooses to take the deal that suits him best. He is at the peak of his career and has set himself up to capitalize on the hard work he has invested in his career. He has earned the right to maximize his value—the same expectation anybody would have in their work life—from a doctor to a waiter.

It will be shocking, especially given the recent fiery hot pitching market, if Lester is signed for any less than $130-$150 million—and possibly even more. There is no scenario where the Red Sox can avoid cracking their checkbook open like the tomb of Lazarus if they wish to retain their ace.

Even if Boston determines Lester is too rich for their blood, they will facing a similarly high price to find his replacement. Max Scherzer, James Shields and Justin Masterson are the current best starters expected to be free agents this fall. Despite varying ages and levels of prior success, they have all pitched at the front of rotations, and will never have to shop the discount racks again.

Pitchers like David Price and Jeff Samardzija may be available in a trade but would require a boatload of premium prospects for their current respective teams to agree to give up such talented horseflesh. With one of the best farm systems in baseball, the Red Sox have the pieces to make just about any deal happen. However, doing so could be the equivalent of robbing Peter to pay Paul. While their rotation could be shored up in the short term, the price tag could be the future security of a self-sustaining organization suffering a major blow.

Lester may return to Boston and he may not. The entire situation is completely up in the air. However, something that is as plain as the nose on your face is that the Red Sox are going to be paying big this offseason- one way or another. The only real say they have is who is going to be on the receiving end of their checks and/or their prospects.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

The Boston Red Sox's Sleeper Prospects Closest to Contributing in Majors

The recent misery of the Boston Red Sox finally ended, as they stopped a 10-game slide with a come-from-behind victory against the Atlanta Braves on Memorial Day. With a record that currently stands at 21-30, the team may need a major injection of young talent from their highly regarded farm system- both in the short and long term. While there are a number of high-end prospects like Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Allen Webster starting to break through, there are many lesser-known youngsters that fans of the team should be aware of.

The highest-ranked prospects may get the lion’s share of the press, but Boston’s system is so deep that the sleepers should be monitored closely- especially those who are closest to possibly contributing at the big league level in the near future. Here are the best of those nearly-ready young players that nobody is talking about.

Bryce Brentz- Outfielder, currently playing at Triple-A: The 25-year-old right-handed hitter appeared ticketed for some time in Boston last year before a spring training firearm accident knocked him off the fast track. A somewhat all-or-nothing approach has resulted in 77 home runs and 451 strikeouts in 438 professional games. Although he is hitting just .230 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 39 2014 games, he is the organization’s most advanced outfield prospect, and could get his first shot in the majors before long.

Henry Ramos- Outfielder, currently playing at Double-A: The 2010 fifth-round pick had a slow start to his career but has gotten better and better with each passing year. The 22-year-old switcher hitter has a big frame and seems to be coming into his power. He is in the midst of a career season that has him hitting .341 with two home runs and 23 RBIs in 45 games. A reported strong arm is offset by inconsistent defensive skills.

Keith Couch, Starting Pitcher, currently playing at Double-A: After winning 11 games in each of the past two seasons, the 24-year-old right-hander may surpass that mark this year by July. Through nine starts, he is a perfect 6-0 with a 2.39 ERA. He has 40 K/11 BB in 52.2 innings, and while he has permitted 55 hits, he is yet to allow a home run. With an arsenal headlined by a low-90s sinker, he is the kind of pitcher who will do best pitching to contact- a la Derek Lowe.

Travis Shaw- First Baseman, currently playing at Double-A: The 24-year-old son of former major league closer Jeff Shaw is the most polished first-sacker in the Boston system. After a miserable 2013 that saw him hit just .221 in Double-A, he is back for more and has clearly learned his lesson. The big left-handed hitter is batting .305 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs in 47 games. Most impressive is his 29/23 BB/K ratio, which indicates a big league-ready batting eye. On the defensive side, he has even played a little third base, which could come in handy as he continues to climb the ladder.

Noe Ramirez- Relief Pitcher, currently playing at Double-A: The 2011 fourth-round pick began his career as a starter but has settled nicely into a relief role. The right-hander may not throw hard but has a good changeup and has learned how to consistently get hitters out. He has a 3.14 career professional ERA, and has gone 1-0 with four saves, a 0.96 WHIP and a 2.08 ERA in 14 2014 games. At 24, he is at the stage of his career where he is just about ready to see what he can do in the big leagues, and may get that shot this season if Boston’s bullpen develops some holes.

*Statistics as of May 25, 2014.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chris Berset: Backstop Working to Catch on With the Cincinnati Reds

Catching prospects have a more daunting task in front of them than many other young players. Not only do they have to develop as hitters and defensive players, but they also have to become adept at handling pitching staffs and calling an effective game. Cincinnati Reds’ minor leaguer Chris Berset has put in the hard work behind the plate, honed his overall game and is now knocking on the door of the majors.

The 26-year-old switch hitter was a stand-out athlete at The Heights School in Potomac, Maryland, playing both baseball and basketball. Following graduation, he enrolled at the University of Michigan and embarked on a noteworthy career, playing all four years. In total, he appeared in 167 games, hitting .317 with 12 home runs and 107 RBIs. Not only was he a team co-captain by his senior year in 2010, he also took home a number of awards and honors, such as the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and All-Big Ten Second Team.

The Reds drafted Berset in the 20th round in 2010 and have moved him slowly but steadily. Coming into the 2014 season, he had never played in more than 59 games in any professional season, and seen inconsistent offensive production, but showed excellent receiver skills.

So far this year, he is having the best season of his career, splitting time between High Single-A and Double-A. In a combined 24 games, he is hitting .291 with two home runs and 14 RBIs while throwing out a career-high 43 percent of runners.

In five professional seasons, Berset has hit .232 with 14 home runs and 83 RBIs. He has also nabbed 32 percent of would-be base stealers. More information on his statistics is available at

I had an opportunity to interview Berset following the 2012 season. Keep reading to find out more about the up-and-coming Reds farmhand.

Chris Berset Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: I loved all pretty much all and any switch hitting catchers when I was growing up. For example, Jason Varitek and Jorge Posada - two strong players. I also liked Brian Schneider for his defense, and respected him a lot since he wasn't highly recruited during the draft, yet was a great player.

What was your college experience like at Michigan?: My time at Michigan was amazing and the best four years of my life. Ann Arbor is a phenomenal town where the camaraderie is just awesome, plus I had the opportunity to form some of the best life-long friendships. Playing under Coach Rich Maloney, who was like a father figure to me, only made my experience at Michigan that much better. 

Can you describe what your 2010 draft day experience was like?: My dad came up from our home in Virginia to be with me. I knew I didn't want to watch the draft on the internet, so we went and played some golf at a course in Michigan. Right when we got finished and back to my house in Michigan, I got a call from the Reds that I went in the 20th. I couldn't have been happier knowing I had achieved one of my life long goals, and was thrilled for my future with the Reds!

What was something extravagant you did for yourself or your friends/family after you signed?: After driving the same car all throughout high school I was able to upgrade by getting a new car. I was pretty excited to go from an old used Honda to a BMW. 

What do you think you have improved on most since being drafted?: I think I've improved mostly on my pitch calling. Being able to really get to know my American vs. Hispanic pitchers is extremely important because of their different mentalities and ways to attack hitters. Because of the diversity of the pitchers I have experienced so far in the minors, I've been able to strengthen my ability to call the most suitable pitches.
What is one thing you would change about your professional career if you could go back in time?: I can't say there's anything I would change. I have been exceptionally blessed by God so far in my professional career. I've really enjoyed every second!

What is the most difficult part of calling a game as a catcher?: Getting on the same page as the pitcher. Obviously pitchers usually want to go with their own choice of pitch since they are the one with the ERA, but it's important to make sure the pitcher also trusts my pitch calling ability to attack the hitter. My plan is always to attack the hitter with the pitchers’ strengths, so being on the same page is essential.

How much interaction have you had with guys from the big league team?: I had my first few experiences with the big league guys this past spring training. I played around five games with the big league club and talked to several of the guys, trying to get as much advice as I could. They are all great guys and I look forward to hopefully playing next to them in the future!

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Big Hitting Prospect Jonathan Griffin

Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Jonathan Griffin recently hit five consecutive home runs, including four in one game. Check out my 2011 interview with him that was previously published on
Jonathan Griffin is probably the biggest hitter in all of professional baseball. At 6’7, 250 pounds, the right-handed slugging first baseman cuts an imposing figure every time he strides to the plate. He was drafted in the 21st round of the 2011 MLB draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011, and the team has high hopes that he will develop into a major league player.
Major league teams had their eye on Griffin prior to 2011. He was initially drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2007 and then the Boston Red Sox in 2008, but chose to pursue his college career instead. A Florida native, he stayed local by attending State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, and later, the University of Central Florida. His collegiate career ended in 2011 by his selection as a member of the Conference USA First Team, after a senior season that saw him hit .343 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI.
Griffin’s senior momentum carried right into pro ball. After he signed with Arizona, he was assigned to the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. He hit .295 for the short season team in 71 games, with 18 home runs and 59 RBI. He led the league in home runs and was third in RBI. He came into the season with the reputation of having some of the best raw power in the minor leagues, and he did nothing to dispel those notions. More information on his statistics is available here.
Griffin will be a player to watch. Anytime a player has a tool as special as Griffin’s ability to hit for power; it bears paying attention. I was glad to be able to find out a little more about the young slugger, and hope you enjoy reading our interview.
Jonathan Griffin Interview:
Who were your favorite team and player growing up and why?: Being from the Tampa Bay area I always grew up watching the Devil Rays. My favorite player growing up would be Frank Thomas (The Big Hurt). I loved watching him drive the ball with his unique swing.
What made you decide not to sign with Minnesota or Boston after they drafted you?: I sat down with my family and we decided that I should go to school and get my education. And If I could go back, I would make the same decision.
How did you find out that Arizona was interested in you?: I actually found out the day of the draft when they called me.
After you signed, did you do anything special to celebrate or treat yourself or family?: I actually signed in my hotel room in Montana by myself. But before I left, we had a great meal together as a family.
What coach or manager has been most influential on you so far?: Throughout my baseball career many coaches and managers have influenced me in becoming the player I am today. But one coach who really stands out for me is Cliff Godwin. He was an assistant coach when I was at UCF. There’s not a game that goes by where I don’t hear him.
What is life typically life traveling between minor league games? What do you all do to stave off boredom?: Life on the road between games is probably the toughest part of being a minor league player. Everyone mostly tries to catch up on sleep during the road trips.
What do you think you would be doing for a career if you were not playing baseball?: This is a question I ask myself all the time and still have not came up with an answer. I would imagine that it would have something to do with baseball.
What is the strangest thing you have seen on the baseball field?: When I was in high school there was a streaker who ran on to the field and tried to jump over the outfield fence, and got stuck on top of the fence.
How do you train or prepare during the off-season?: I prepare myself by taking care of my body and eating right. Developing a routine has helped me be consistent with my workouts. I also rest to let my body recover and charge up for an eight month season.
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Why the Struggles of the Boston Red Sox's Youngsters Are a Good Thing

The Boston Red Sox have enjoyed a veritable embarrassment of riches over the past decade, winning three World Series titles and somehow still possessing one of the most highly-regarded farm systems in all of baseball. Despite all the positivity, the 2014 season has been quite the grind thus far, with the young players on the roster sitting squarely in the spotlight when any discussion about what is going wrong comes up. Surprisingly, not only are these struggles a good thing, they are just what is needed to help sort out who should be part of the future and who should think about renting instead of buying.

In particular, Boston has three young players who were given roles as regulars this season but have not yet put all the components together to fully establish themselves as future cornerstones. This includes:

-25-year-old third baseman Will Middlebrooks is in his third big league season but is very much a study in progress. A tremendous rookie season in 2011 was derailed by a wrist injury. He battled physical ailments and inconsistency last year, even spending time in the minors to get himself back on track.

In 2014, Middlebrooks has appeared in 21 games, hitting just .197 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He is already on his second disabled list stint of the season, most recently suffering a fractured finger that will keep him out for an indeterminate amount of time. His powerful right-handed swing is tailor-made for cozy Fenway Park. On the other hand, his difficulty staying healthy, and an aggressive plate approach that has resulted in a lot of strikeouts and few walks have prevented him from emerging as the hot corner mainstay.

-21-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts made a splash in the majors last fall, playing well in a late-season call-up and then batting an impressive .296 in the playoffs, which earned him major playing time (including subbing for Middlebrooks at third base) in the World Series.

So far in 2014, Bogaerts has had a few challenges in the field (4 errors) and is hitting a rather pedestrian .269 with two home runs, seven RBIs and 38 strikeouts in 41 games. However, a closer look indicates that everyone should be quite pleased with his progress. He has an excellent .369 OBP; his 108 OPS+ is nearly identical to last year shortstop starter Stephen Drew’s 111, as pointed out by Ron Juckett; and the best part is that he is just a few years removed from sitting in daily home room.

-Finally, there is outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. After a disastrous 2013 that saw him hit just .189 in a variety of trials in Boston spanning 37 games, it appears he is much on the same track this year. In 41 games, the left-handed batter is hitting .205 with 13 RBIs and 43 strikeouts.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news for Bradley, as the 24-year-old plays a spectacular defensive outfield and has 16 walks and 10 doubles, with the latter number placing him second on the team behind only second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

All three of the aforementioned youngsters arrived with much-discussed pedigrees and high expectations. Although none of them have become stars or are putting up video game numbers, it is way too early to start considering them lost causes. What’s needed most is patience and the comfort with the idea of mediocrity in the interim- both for the players and the team as a whole.

After finishing a putrid 2012 season with a 69-93 record, the Red Sox went out and hired a new manager in John Farrell and reshaped their roster with players known for their high character and ability to keep a light and fun clubhouse. Some homers and eternal optimists may have thought them contenders from the outset, but in reality it was tough to peg them as more than an entertaining 85-win team. The fact that they went on to win the World Series is a classic example of playing with house money.

Coming off such success, the team and its fans are obviously hungry to keep the good times rolling. Unfortunately, that may not be congruent with the development of these youngsters, whose progress should be considered vital for the future. Even if only one or two of them reach their full potential, the Red Sox will come out ahead.

Prospecting in baseball is usually a crapshoot, as some sure shots fizzle while stars can come out of nowhere. If a team makes a true commitment to a youth movement, then it is difficult to put time constraints on when everything is supposed to come together. In baseball, some of the best learning can come from the tough times. Repetition and learning from mistakes are powerful tools in honing the fine edges of a player, and the Red Sox three are sharpening their blades as we speak.

The Red Sox kids may be going through some growing pains now, and are doing few favors in contributing to a favorable 2014 outcome, but in the long run it could all be for the best. With the heady days of 2013 still visible in the rear view mirror for fans it may be difficult to accept a detour, but in the end it may be the best way for Boston to get where it needs to go when it comes to long-term success.

Statistics obtained from

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kyler Newby: The Underdog Pitcher

Everyone enjoys a long shot or an underdog. This is especially true in baseball where there appear to be another popping up at every turn. The sport is seen as the ultimate proving ground, and one where nothing is truly impossible or out of the question for those trying to make it a career. A poster child for this mentality is pitcher Kyler Newby, who is in the 10th year of his professional career and still working at getting a crack at the majors.

The big right-handed Newby was drafted almost as an afterthought- taken in the 50th round in 2004 by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Mesa Community College.

Pitching as a reliever, he appeared to be on the fast track, posting an impressive 6-1 record with a 2.05 ERA, 11 saves and 64 strikeouts in 44 innings in his second season in 2006.

Despite continuing to pitch well, and also showing he could produce as a starter, Newby never made the Show with Arizona in his seven years in their system. He pitched in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization in 2012, the Oakland A’s organization last year, and is now with the Somerset Patriots in the independent Atlantic League.

Given how consistently Newby has pitched during his career, it’s a bit of a puzzler that he has never gotten a chance to see what he can do in the majors. He has reached as high as Triple-A, pitching parts of three seasons at that level. All told, he has appeared in 315 professional games (29 starts) and gone 39-24 with a 3.12 ERA and 64 saves. More impressively, he has struck out 615 batters in 560 innings while permitting just 465 hits. More information on his career stats is available at BaseballReference.

Now 29, Newby is well past the age of the traditional prospect. However, if he continues playing and producing, it’s not outside the realm of reason that he could still one day be kicking major league dirt out of his cleats.

Back in 2012, I was fortunate enough to have Newby answer some questions about his career. Keep reading for more on this hard-working pitcher.

Kyler Newby Interview:

Who was your favorite player and team when you were growing up, and why?: When I was growing up my dad liked the Giants, so I followed. I had a Matt Williams jersey I wore all the time and played third base, so he was my favorite! 

In hindsight, is there anything differently you would have done in preparation to getting drafted?: No. Tony Cirelli prepared me for much more than baseball. He taught me so many life lessons that prepared me for the professional baseball world.

What was your 2004 draft day like?: I was in Canada playing summer ball and headed to the gym when I got the phone call from the Diamondbacks telling me they had drafted me. I didn't know I was going to get drafted. 

What are negotiations like after being drafted in the 50th round?: There were none. They told me we will give you $10,000 and two years of paid school; take it or leave it! 

Which pitches do you throw; which is your best; and which do you believe needs the most work?: I throw a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a slider that has more slurve tilt to it, and a split finger fastball. My best pitch is a strike, but I personally like my slider and organizations like my split. They all need work all the time. I work on each pitch daily in catch. If I let one sit to long I’ll lose command of it.  

Which coach or manager has had the greatest influence on you?: Tony Cirelli from MCC and Dan Carlson from the Diamondbacks. He's the AA pitching coach. Words can't describe how good of a man he is! 

What do you like to do that's not baseball related?: I love to golf and I love remote control cars. I have one that we clocked with the team’s radar gun at 73 miles per hour! 

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Red Sox Pitching Prospect Michael McCarthy Trying to Work His Way to Boston

The Boston Red Sox have such an impressive and eclectic group of prospects in its minor league system that it can be difficult to keep track of all the aspiring young ballplayers. Obviously, the best way to stick out in such a crowd is by producing on the field. Pitcher Michael McCarthy is trying his best to do just that, and prove he eventually belongs in the major leagues.

The slender right-hander attended Liberty High School in Brentwood, California before heading off to college at the University of Redlands (Division III). He became a stand-out hurler there but had aspirations for bigger things and transferred to Cal-State Bakersfield following his sophomore year.

The change in venue agreed with McCarthy, who ended his collegiate career on a high note, going 8-6 with a 1.62 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) as a senior in 2011. He also struck out 116 in 127.2 innings and established himself as a viable professional prospect. The Red Sox came calling in the 14th round of the that year’s draft, and after quickly signing; he embarked on the start of his career.

Now 26, McCarthy is in his fourth season in the Boston organization and has made steady progress with each passing season. He made it to Double-A last year, and has remained there to start the 2014 season.

In 85 career games (29 starts) as a pro, he has posted a 14-13 record with a 4.29 ERA and 8 saves. He also has an impressive 201/71 strikeout/walk ratio in 260 innings. More details of his statistics are available at BaseballReference.

Working primarily as a starter this year, McCarthy is 2-2 with a 4.72 ERA in 6 games (5 starts). According to, he possesses an “average fastball and a nice splitter.” Having already established he can hang as a pro, he now just needs to establish the consistency to catch the right people’s eye to land a chance in the majors.

2014 could well be a big season for the pitcher in terms of what direction his career will take. Make sure to keep up with his progress as the long summer gets under way. In the meantime, find out a little more about him courtesy of the interview he granted this site earlier this winter.

Michael McCarthy Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up, I didn't have just one favorite but enjoyed an array of players such as Cal Ripken Jr., Bill Mueller and John Smoltz. I always felt like these guys played as hard as they could, and I modeled myself after them.  

How did you end up choosing to attend Cal State-Bakersfield?: I started at the University of Redlands where I had an academic scholarship and was planning to attend med school. CSU-Bakersfield had opening enrollment in the fall and had just lost a pitcher, so things came together at the right time.

How did you first find out that the Red Sox were interested in you?: I was at a game that Jim Woodward came to. He told me he liked how I threw and had interest in me playing for the Red Sox. He came out to watch me a couple more times over the three-month season.

Who was the first well-known member of the Red Sox you met after you signed, and what was that like?: Rich Gedman was the hitting coach in Lowell and is well known throughout New England. A great man and helped get me started on the right foot.

What current pitcher would you say your style/type of skills is most similar to?: I see myself being similar to Koji Uehara and Tim Hudson. High 80s fastball with a good split. Quality control and someone who will do whatever the team needs of them.

What pitches do you throw, and what parts of your game do you think you need to work on most?: I throw a four-seam, two-seam and cut-fastball. I also throw a split, curve and slider.

Besides the travel, what are the toughest parts of a professional season?: A big challenge is the toll the game takes on your body. Day in and day out you have to maintain your physical and mental strength so you can play each day with the highest quality possible.

Are you surprised by the attention the Red Sox organization gets from fans, the media, etc? How has any extra attention affected you?: I was somewhat surprised at first but as I met people from New England I quickly realized how they viewed their sports teams. It is more than just a game; it is a way of life and something that binds us all together. I am proud to be a part of that bond and take a lot of pride in representing the Red Sox brand to the best of my ability. 

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