Clay Buchholz was on the disabled list for a large stretch of the season, but the Boston Red Sox starting pitcher was looking like a Cy Young contender until a shoulder/neck injury derailed him in June. Buchholz started the season 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, and was one of the finest pitchers in the American League. He was finally putting everything together for the Red Sox, which has led us to consider whether or not he has a shot at the Hall of Fame.
SUBWAY® is celebrating “The Boys in the Hall” and asked us to discuss Buchholz’s chances of reaching Cooperstown. Though Buchholz has been a good pitcher the past four seasons, we have to say the 29-year-old is a major longshot for the Hall at this point.
Buchholz is simply too far along in his career to post the kind of numbers necessary to make it into the Hall. He is 29 and has only made 119 career starts, though he has posted a fine 55-32 record. His career ERA is 3.66, which is strong for a pitcher in the AL East, but not spectacular. His career strikeouts-to-walk ratio is less than 2:1. His 6.89 K/9 rate is good but not great.
If one doesn’t have eye-popping numbers, then they need honors in order to merit Hall consideration. Buchholz is short on those right now.
The Texas native has made two All-Star teams, first in 2010 and then this season. He was only in the Cy Young Award discussion once — in 2010 — when he finished sixth in voting. This year could have been another, but he got injured. Buchholz does have one achievement that looks great on his resume. In 2007, he became the first Red Sox rookie to throw a no-hitter, and he accomplished the feat in just his second career start.
Another area where Buchholz would need to have success to boost his Hall resume is the playoffs. Guys like Curt Schilling will receive strong consideration thanks to a stellar postseason career despite not having great regular season numbers. Buchholz has only pitched in the postseason once. He went five innings allowing two runs while taking a no decision against the Angels in the 2009 ALDS.
Buchholz falls well short of Hall of Fame consideration at this point in his career, but his 2013 season does indicate he has a lot of promise. He would need probably six All-Star/Cy Young caliber seasons in a row to have a legitimate shot at Cooperstown, not to mention some memorable postseason wins. He would also need to have about three average-to-good seasons from ages 36-38 in order to boost his career statistics.
I don’t see Buchholz going on the type of run necessary to become a legitimate Hall of Fame contender, but he does have a chance of being one of the better pitchers in the AL for the next three years. Maybe he’ll get off to a good start in September and then this postseason, which could set him back on the right track for the future.
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