Although it is a different year, it is the same story for Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Allen Webster. His stuff is impressive, his velocity is impressive, he succeeds at the AAA level; then comes his time in the big leagues where his biggest flaw is put on display — command.
Despite spotty success at the big league level, for the most part he has not pitched well. On Friday September 12, he pitched a sharp outing— going six strong innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking a man and punching out a pair. His success came as a result of better-than-normal command. Throwing 83 pitches, 55 of which were strikes, a little more than 66% percent of his pitches were thrown for strikes.
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Improving to 4-3 on the year, Webster’s record is virtually a useless stat. His ERA stands at 6.02 on the year through nine starts thanks to a barely 60% strike rate on the mound. Walking 26 men while fanning just 28 in 46.1 innings is not exactly great command, especially when he has plunked six batters.
Last year, a year in which Webster really struggled in the big leagues, was not much different. Posting an ERA of 8.60 in seven starts and an outing in relief, Webster once again struggled with command barely tossing 60% for strikes. His walks-to-strikeouts was not impressive last year either, walking 18 men while punching out 23 in 30.1 innings of work.
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It was thought early this year, that Allen Webster may get a shot in the 2015 Red Sox rotation however, now this does not appear to be the case. This year, Webster has only reaffirmed what impression he left on manager John Farrell last year — he has great stuff but cannot throw strikes. Showing flashes of dominance is not enough to earn a spot in the rotation next year. Webster must be able to consistently string together successful outings before he gets a full-time gig in the Red Sox rotation.
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It seems certain he will land a job with the Boston Red Sox eventually, but he will not be handed one heading into 2015.
At this point, Rubby De La Rosa is the only youngster who has done enough to prove himself as a Major League starter, combining great stuff with sufficient command to be successful at the big league level.