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Thursday, May 24, 2007


Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz have, deservedly so, have gotten most of the minor league mainstream ink. They have been fantastic and both could be in Fenway this summer. Buchholz was sick last night in Trenton taking on Rogah. He featured his new best pitch - the fastball, a tight late breaking slider, a true 12-6 curveball (Baseball Tonight showed a graphic that had his curveball topping out at the hitter's head and being caught at his knee) and his old favorite - the change up.

Since El Guapo’s Ghost tries not to regularly rehash a Globe or Herald article, it is time to take a look at the Lancaster rotation. At the start of the year, the Lancaster starters included four high draft picks – Michael Bowden, Daniel Bard, Jason Masterson and Kris Johnson. The youngest and the one with the most experience, Bowden, have been promoted to Portland. He was excellent, in arguably the best environment for offense, while the other three have not.

Baird (currently on the DL), Masterson and Johnson have gotten crushed. And that’s not all they have in common. All three were drafted last June and skipped low A-ball in Greenville. Lancaster and the Cal League are going to test any pitcher’s makeup, so the Sox made a very questionable decision having Baird start his professional career in such a tough pitching environment, as well as, Masterson as he transitions from being a reliever and Johnson less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

Now back to the good news. Even though Bowden’s change is still a work-in-progress, his command has improved over last year, according to media source. He still looks like a #2/3 starter or a closer with two, albeit plus pitches. At 20 (essentially two years younger than Clay Buchholz at the same level) gives him plenty of time to develop an average change that would project him in the #1/2 starter category with Buchholz.

It is not outside the realm of possibilities that by 2009, the Sox feature a rotation of Josh Beckett, Dice-K, Jon Lester, Buchholz and Bowden. Hopefully, the Lancaster trio will be knocking on the door by then too. Oh and the second best part about the possible 2009 rotation is they would make around $20 million giving the Sox incredible future financial flexibility.



* Rogah did not look good last night. His command and control was poor. Buchholz clearly out shined him. It would be a surprise to see him in Toronto next week.

* With an off day tomorrow, an eight man pen with everyone likely available, Schilling should have been out after the second or third inning. If you have the resources, use them.

* Have a great long weekend celebrating the start of summer!


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