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Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

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Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby bigh0rt » Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:31 am

There’s the Nolan Ryan brand of “I came here to kick your butts and chew some gum, and I’m all out of gum” cocky (see also Jack Morris, and his mostly averageish performance never discouraged him), and there’s the Pedro Martinez borderline-homicidal-psychopath brand; I especially appreciate the smug factory that is Greg Maddux, the man who always knows something you, the batter, don’t. Josh Beckett is a little different. His body language usually says “This is easy, man,” like as soon as he gets done striking you and all your buddies out, he’s going to go climb some cliffs, just to do something challenging. It’s served the man, well, too: 6-0 with 82 Ks and a 1.73 ERA in 9 starts, 72 innings in the postseason. That didn’t come against the Orioles and Devil Rays either, mind.

Josh Beckett’s career shape is strange, maybe unprecedented. He was good enough to reach the majors to stay at age 22, and he was an elite pitcher at age 23. What separates him from most everyone else with that kind of background is his innings. Beckett was elite at 23, 138 ERA+, but he threw only 142 innings, then 156, then 178. It wasn’t until he reached Boston, at age 26, that he finally threw 200 innings.

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Last edited by bigh0rt on Sat Feb 16, 2008 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby Bloody Sox » Sat Feb 16, 2008 9:25 am

That's a pretty good description of Beckett... he definitely sits up there on the mound with a "this is so easy" look on his face. In general, two things impressed me about Beckett watching him last year as compared to 2006:

1. He was able to throw his curve for strikes more consistently. In 2006, he couldn't get the curveball over early in the count and hitters just sat on the fastball.

2. Related to #1, in 2007 Beckett did not always resort to more fastballs when he got into jams. In 2006, every time he gave up a couple of hits he tried to throw the ball even harder and got shellacked. This was clearly evident in his cutting his HR rate by half (36-17) last year.

Beckett has stayed relatively healthy the last two years... a couple of blister type issues have popped up, so you apparently always need to beware of that, but Red Sox management has done a good job staying on top of it. They won't hesitate to skip a start if a blister pops up. He reportedly had a bad rotator cuff coming over to Boston from Florida, but I haven't seen any evidence of it.

I'd normally be nervous about the extra workload in the postseason, but even with that factored in he only threw 230 IP so that seems to not be a concern either. Beckett has never had an extreme workload in any of his seven seasons. If I had to guess, Beckett will have a similar workload to last year - expect him to miss a couple of starts for one minor reason or another, which will likely have to do with Sox management giving him a break to keep him fresh (why mess with success).

I don't know if he can improve on last year's fantastic results, but I don't see any falloff either. He's clearly adjusted to the AL and gained some maturity, but he is in the strong AL East.
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Re: Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby Snakes Gould » Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:33 pm

man, i used to love beckett and was one of the guys who was always getting burned by his blisters. but now that hes with the sox, for some reason, its not the same. i dont really like him as much.
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Re: Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby Yoda » Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:37 pm

He will come down to earth a bit this year. He is getting way too much love and while I do realize he is immensely talented, until he dominates consistently, I wouldn't pay for his 07 season.
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Re: Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby nsulham » Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:06 pm

Yoda wrote:He will come down to earth a bit this year. He is getting way too much love and while I do realize he is immensely talented, until he dominates consistently, I wouldn't pay for his 07 season.


Well you should never pay for career years in the first place but aside from that, you're right he is immensely talented. I'm not totally sold he's the kind of pitcher he was last season, but I know he's also not the "5+ ERA pitcher" some around here labeled him after his first learning season in the AL. Actually I'd say he's much closer to the Beckett we saw last season. I don't expect last season's numbers but he shouldn't regress much at all.
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Re: Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby nsulham » Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:12 pm

And, FWIW, I expect Dice-K to have a Beckett-like bounceback season this year. Note I didn't say "Dice will put up the same numbers as Beckett did last season", I'm saying I think Dice-K will be much better this year after the year of hard knocks and learning he took his first season, ala Beckett in '06. We saw the real, or as close to real as it gets, Beckett last year and I'm counting on seeing the real Dice-K this season. I'm not sure Beckett has the better stuff between the two but he's better between the ears and that's where a lot of Daisuke's problems come from, beating himself up.
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Re: Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby Matthias » Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:13 pm

Yoda wrote:He will come down to earth a bit this year. He is getting way too much love and while I do realize he is immensely talented, until he dominates consistently, I wouldn't pay for his 07 season.

I'm not sure if coming back down to earth is a fair characterization. This isn't a guy who just all of a sudden woke up one day and had a good year. His aberrational hear would have been 2006: it was his first year since 2002 where his ERA was over four. I'd say better chance than not that he keeps his ERA sub-3.50 in 2008.
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Re: Where’s the Long Road Taking Josh Beckett?

Postby Yoda » Sat Feb 16, 2008 5:03 pm

Matthias wrote:
Yoda wrote:He will come down to earth a bit this year. He is getting way too much love and while I do realize he is immensely talented, until he dominates consistently, I wouldn't pay for his 07 season.

I'm not sure if coming back down to earth is a fair characterization. This isn't a guy who just all of a sudden woke up one day and had a good year. His aberrational hear would have been 2006: it was his first year since 2002 where his ERA was over four. I'd say better chance than not that he keeps his ERA sub-3.50 in 2008.


Well I was making a point that he had a career year which clearly was 07 for him. Whether he sustains this level for the next few years is very questionable.

3.50 ERA is very reasonable since his xFIP was 3.56 in 07. He's a good pitcher with dominant stuff. However, he does have nagging injury issues and while they have not slowed him down too much, they are something you need to keep in mind as well.
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