Allen Webster continues his show-stopping spring
|03.07.13 at 6:05 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was a jaw-dropping two-pitch sequence. Allen Webster spun a nose-to-knees curveball against Twins first baseman Jeff Clement for one swing and miss, then followed that pitch by squeezing a two-strike changeup that divebombed down and away from the left-handed hitter for a swing-and-miss strike three.
Who else in the Red Sox organization possesses two such secondary offerings?
“Clay Buchholz?” mused one talent evaluator who was at Lee County Stadium for the game.
Webster continued a spring theme on Thursday, in the Red Sox’ 12-5 Grapefruit League win over the Twins, in which prospects destined to open the year in the minors have been show-stoppers. The 23-year-old Webster continues to be near the top of the list, given a pitch mix that includes three impressive secondary pitches (changeup, curveball and slider) along with a mid- to high-90s fastball with sink. And Buchholz would seem the only other pitcher in the Sox organization right now with both the diversity of potential swing-and-miss secondary options to complement an ability to elicit contact that yields little more than grass cutters.
In fairness, Webster did allow a run over three innings, permitting a leadoff triple (a slicing liner that popped out of the glove of a diving Jackie Bradley Jr., who had no business being anywhere near the ball) and sac fly (as well as a single) in his second of three innings of work, a frame in which he elevated some fastballs. Still, the quality of his stuff was once again apparent, as the former Dodgers prospect (acquired by the Sox in last August’s trade) punched out five batters in his three innings of work. He’s now permitted two runs in eight frames (2.25 ERA) with 11 strikeouts and one walk this spring.
“Today he threw a couple of curveballs which he hasn’t thrown in spring training yet. When he’s got the ability to throw with that kind of velocity and use his changeup to right-handed hitters it really opens up a number of ways to attack a right-handed hitter with. He’s shown very good mound presence and poise and that was again the case,” Sox manager John Farrell remarked with enthusiasm difficult to conceal. “[He has] three different types of putaway pitches. He’s got a bright future.”
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