Last season, his first professional season, was an education for Pat Light.
The right-hander was the Red Sox third pick in the first round (37th overall) in the June draft out of Monmouth University in New Jersey. He made 12 starts for Low-A Lowell, posting a record of 0-2 with a 2.37 ERA. In 30 13 innings, he recorded 30 strikeouts, with 27 hits and five walks, for a 6.00 strikeouts-to-walks ratio, an 8.9 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio, and a WHIP of 1.055.
It went well, Light said. It definitely went well. It was a little frustrating at times. In Boston they like to keep an eye on their young guys and make sure theyre not being overused. Im very OK with that. I dont mind at all. I know they know what theyre doing. We had some tough times as far as the team was concerned in the middle of the year. I would have liked to pitch more and help them out. But I understand. Its a little bit different now. Its not college. Its more of a business-type feel for it. But it was a great year. I loved the guys on the team. It was a great team. It was an awesome year in general.
Now, Light, who turns 22 in March, is adjusting to his first offseason.
Its new for me because my whole life, especially in college, you dont get an offseason, Light said. You play in the fall, you start up in the winter and play all spring and all summer and you start back up in the fall. So its new. Its a little different to have all this free time. But Im enjoying it. Its been fun. Working out a lot. Cant complain, its not a bad job to have.
Light, whose hometown of Colts Neck, NJ, was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, is currently in California, meeting with his new agent, Scott Boras.
The season, he said, was a bit of an eye opener.
I think the biggest thing for me, I think for any player moving up to the next level, you need that little bit of confidence, he said. All it takes is a little bit of knowing you can pitch well. Saying, OK, I actually can pitch here. You still have that little doubt in your mind: Gee, can I pitch at this level? Its good to have that little bit of confidence to know that you can keep going. I didnt get a lot out of the season because I didnt get to pitch that much. I learned a lot. But I think the biggest thing for me was that I got that little bit of confidence to know that I can move on.
In his final three outings, he recorded nine scoreless innings, giving up four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.
You always want to end good, said Light. This past year I think I strung together about two or three good starts. I thought that was a good way to head into the offseason. You can feel good about yourself walking into the spring training complex in February. I enjoyed that. It was a good way to end it.
In addition to his innings with Lowell, Light pitched 101 13 innings for Monmouth, then threw in the Instructional League in September. By that point, he felt good, but he felt the effects of the workload.
In my last start with Lowell I still felt strong, he said. But when I went to Instructional League for three weeks I started feeling it. I was up to about 140 innings, which is the most Ive ever pitched in my life. And I think that was when I started feeling a little bit of fatigue, my arm started tiring, everything mechanically started going a little haywire. It took till about the end of September, early October when I started feeling tired, which was a good sign that I was strong till then. But I did feel it at the end of the season there.
In December hell begin his throwing program, and hell go to Fort Myers for a few days in for the Sox strength and conditioning camp. After that, hell get ready for his first spring training and first full professional season.
Im just hoping to keep moving up, keep doing better, keep refining my skills and my pitches, he said. My pitches still need some work. My mechanics still need a little bit of work. Hopefully I just keep getting better and learning more things, and hopefully Ill keep moving up and be in the big leagues in a couple of years or so.
Everyone says Im living the dream now. But I dont see it that way. Its not the minor leagues thats the dream. Its the big leagues. So I got a little ways to go. So Im still working.