As much promise as Felix Doubront showed as a rookie in 2012, he also threw an average of 17.8 pitches per inning on the season. That was the second-worst rate in baseball, just ahead of Tim Lincecum.
So while Doubront’s pure stuff is as good as any left-handed starter in Major League Baseball, he knows where he needs to improve to take the next step in 2013. Likewise, Doubront has been very upfront in acknowledging his shortcomings, which bodes well for his ability to make adjustments and improve.
However, in his first start of the season on April 5, Doubront threw 90 pitches in just five innings, working out to 18 an inning. That indicates Doubront’s evolution is still a work in progress, but he continues to espouse a positive, focused attitude going into each start.
“I worked on it in spring training, right now I’m just focused on making my pitch and having a good game that day,” said Doubront after the Red Sox’ home opener at Fenway Park. “Really, that’s all that’s in my mind, just focusing on the mound on that game.”
But in terms of improving his pitch efficienty, the 25-year-old absolutely has a gameplan in mind. In fact, he says that the best advice he’s gotten is pretty simple, the advice itself being to keep things simple on the mound.
“Pretty much just attack the zone,” said Doubront. “That’s what you have to do to throw less pitches, and I worked on that all of spring training in the bullpen.”
With former pitching coach John Farrell now the manager in Boston, and working with new pitching coach, Juan Nieves, Doubront says not much has changed. There are no major mechanical adjustments they’ve asked him to make, only refining his natural ability.
“It’s the same,” said Doubront of the new regime. “Just repeating my delivery and try to keep the ball down.”
But regardless of his own work, Doubront is clearly excited about the team the Red Sox have assembled this season. As has been the motto for the Sox all offseason, the left-hander pledges 100 percent effort from him and his teammates, and hopefully the wins will follow.
“We have a really good team,” said Doubront. “My goal is just to have a good season, we have a good team, and we’re going to go out there and do everything we can to win the game.”