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 up front 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,” Doubront said 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.”
In terms of improving his pitch efficiency, though, the 25-year-old absolutely has a game plan in mind.He says the best advice he’s received is pretty simple: to keep things simple on the mound.
“Pretty much just attack the zone,” Doubront said. “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 from last season. He hasn’t been asked to make any major mechanical adjustments — rather, they’re focused on him 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 himself and his teammates, and he said he hopes the wins will follow.
“We have a really good team,” Doubront said. “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.”