FORT MYERS, Fla. — Allen Webster’s adjustments might look familiar.
Webster, who is considered one of the Boston Red Sox’s top pitching prospects, has made some key changes since joining the organization as part of the August 2012 megadeal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to manager John Farrell, the changes are similar to ones made by fellow Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz in recent years.
“Delivery-wise, (Webster) was a guy that went over his head with his hands and was a little bit stagnant with his movement. He’d begin his delivery and kind of pause with his hands at the top of his delivery,” Farrell said at JetBlue Park on Saturday. “He’s adjusted that with, I guess the visual comparison might be to what Buchholz does, where in his drop step his hands drop to his belt and then they ride up with his knee to create a little bit more natural fluidity or timing.”
High expectations accompanied Webster to Boston, but the right-hander struggled during his brief time in the majors in 2013. Webster, who spent the bulk of last season with Triple-A Pawtucket, posted an 8.60 ERA in eight big league appearances (seven starts), often struggling with his fastball command.
Webster arrived at Red Sox spring training this year with a different aura about him, though. The 24-year-old looks noticeably more relaxed in his second camp with the organization, and Farrell suggested Saturday that the pitcher’s potential on-field performance this season could be tied to his Buchholz-like alterations.
“Takes the tension out of his shoulders,” Farrell said of Webster’s new delivery. “In some ways, it’s comparable to when Clay made the adjustment as well. … Every pitcher, as their trying to get into the flow of the game, there’s some anxiety and there’s some uncertainty and that translates to some tension. The key with Clay was, let’s work to get the first groundball on the infield. Then, you could see the tension come out of him. This is taking it out naturally by the adjustment in (Webster’s) delivery, and he just feels more loose and fluid.”
Webster, ranked the No. 49 prospect in the game by Baseball America before last season, was ranked No. 88 on this year’s list.