Scouting The Red Sox: Pitchers

Who better to talk to while previewing the Red Sox than a major league scout? We got his candid take—under the condition of anonymity, of course—on the Sox as part of our season preview package in Diehard Magazine. Just another reminder that no one on the web covers the Sox better, from top to bottom, than Diehard! (Part two of two)

Josh Beckett: "He's the ace of the staff—a potential Cy Young Award winner year in and year out. Absolutely dominant. He's a guy nobody wanted to face last year. It was almost a guaranteed victory every time he goes out there, if he's on. If you can stay within yourself and you've got a mid-90s fastball and that nasty breaking ball and a feel for everything else, that's pretty impressive. It's starting to just really all come together for that guy."

Daisuke Matsuzaka: "I was surprised at times with him, juts the walks and [how he] ended up working too many deep counts. Another guy [who], if he gets ahead of guys with that kind of stuff, he's a potential front-end starter. A reliable guy, he'll log a lot of innings. Personality-wise, I think he fits in pretty well with the team."

Jon Lester: "Oh man, I was happy for that guy, the way he was able to come back from cancer. I wasn't sure how they were going to use him going into last year—wondered if he'd go to Triple-A or come out of the bullpen—but he performed well enough. He's another guy that's a consistent winner, who will compete every fifth day. A young guy that is probably mature beyond his years from what he went through off the field. What he [did] after what he went through was impressive. That guy's going to be a fixture in that rotation for a long time."

Tim Wakefield: "A veteran guy that just gets it done with the knuckleball. Can fill any role for them. And when the knuckleball is on, he's tough."

Clay Buchholz: "I saw the tail end of the no-hitter last year. To be honest with you, I know some organizations [that scouted] him in high school had concern when he stole the computers in high school [Buchholz and a friend were arrested for stealing computers from a school in 2004]. I don't think anyone remembers that stuff now."

Jonathan Papelbon: "Oh man, he's turning himself into an elite closer. You get a lead and bring him into the game, you're in good shape. He's one of, if not the, elite closers in the big leagues right now You go through every organization and find out who they want to close games for them—he'll get a lot of votes."

Hideki Okajima: "I guess deceptive is the best word for him. He's a little funky with the way he's throwing, but he repeats his delivery and he throws strikes and he gets guys out. Nice bridge guy and the guy that you know is going to go in there and hold a lead and get the ball into Papelbon's hands."

Manny Delcarmen: "I know he's got good stuff. He's got a power arm. You see him when he's on and he fits into the back end of the bullpen. I've seen some command issues, where he's not always spot-on, but he's still pretty young and a pretty good arm."

Mike Timlin: "The veteran guy in the pen. Two years ago, I saw him and I was pretty impressed with his stuff. Don't know if he took a step backwards [last year]—it kind of seemed to be [more about the performances of] the other guys [who surged past him] in my eyes than Timlin, but Timlin's still that veteran guy that's nice to have."

Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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