MLB’s 25 Most Improved Players Prospects for 2016 Momentum

#6. Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox

2015 WAR: 2.7
2014 WAR: -1.6
WAR Improvement: 4.3

A flexor strain ended Clay Buchholz’s 2015 campaign prematurely, but he was on his way to one of the best seasons of his career before the injury struck. Behind a revitalized fastball and a diverse blend of secondary pitches, he was striking out batters with aplomb and showcasing the potential that made him so intriguing throughout his 20s.

Of course, it’s almost impossible to imagine him remaining healthy all year. Frankly, it might be better if he takes some time off and posts more valuable starts for Boston, rather than pushing his limits and seeing his performance suffer.

But when he’s healthy, Buchholz should be able to pick up where he left off in August.

His fastball velocity had crept up toward vintage levels, and that allowed him to use his changeup more effectively against unsuspecting hitters. That off-speed offering and his cutter were two of his most-used pitches in 2015, and both of them provided plenty of value.

So long as he regains his arm strength, he should be dealing once more. Buchholz’s 3.26 ERA was a near-perfect representation of his actual level in 2015, since his FIP and xFIP stood at 2.68 and 3.30, respectively.