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  1. I had expected 2010 to be a good year for Josh because it was his walk year.

    Comment by Regis — September 13, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  2. Beckett’s first two starts of the 07 postseason were absolutely amazing. I think he commanded the zone as good as he ever did in his career that week. Whenever I see him pitch I think back to those games and wonder why he can recapture that command…

    Comment by Locke — September 13, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  3. I am with you on this one Joe. I am really thinking next year is going to be a big year for Beckett. He is slowing making his way back this year – which is a good thing. He walked four batters in a row yesterday – yet was able to finish the inning with no additional problems and then bounce back. He was getting the outs when he needed to and that is a really good sign. Maybe he has a pattern going. 2003 World Series – 4 years later 2007 World Series and a dominating year – 4 years later brings us to 2011. I think it is going to be a good one for Beckett.

    Comment by Dante — September 13, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  4. From an observer’s standpoint, Beckett isn’t dealing “without top-notch stuff”. It’s the same to my eye as one would expect: a hard, low to mid-90s 2-seam fastball, high 80s/low 90s cutter, his curveball, and an occasional changeup. It’s his control that hasn’t been top notch, even if it doesn’t show up in the box score with BBs. He’s been very inconsistent at locating his pitches in my opinion, and it has cost him since he’s been back.

    Good article, I agree that Beckett will probably come back next year and be pretty good. Not sure if he can sustain that throughout the contract, however.

    Comment by mbrady16 — September 13, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  5. I am not saying that Beckett won’t have a strong 2011. But I am saying that he has not been the Ace since 2007. That has been Lester. As good as Beckett can be, he is really a number 2 now in my mind, until he proves otherwise.

    Comment by Joe — September 13, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  6. There are really a lot of pitchers who’ve had one great year (but never got a single Cy Young vote any other time). Beckett appears to be one of these. At this point, he’s unlikely to have a career as good as Derek Lowe’s – and nobody’s ever considered Lowe an ace. Yeah, yeah, 2007, and he used to be able to beat the Yankees….

    Beckett in his (brief) prime was more dependent on his fastball than any starter except Brad Penny. He doesn’t have that fastball any more, and he hasn’t added anything else. Now it could be that his back is the problem, and that it’ll get better. But I’d like to know the basis for the Sox’s $68m bet: do they expect him to get fast again, or to learn to pitch?

    This year they would have been better off if they’d traded Hanley Ramirez even up for Lowell, and kept Sanchez.

    Comment by Mr Punch — September 13, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

  7. I think you’re way off base here. Beckett’s career xFIP is .09 better than Lowe’s, and he’s had several year’s that I’d qualify as in the hunt for the CYA. He’s by no means a one-hit wonder, and in fact, despite his odd fluctuations in results, he’s managed to be pretty consistent in his performance throughout his career, sans ’06 and some injuries.

    Comment by Locke — September 13, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  8. “This year they would have been better off if they’d traded Hanley Ramirez even up for Lowell, and kept Sanchez.”

    Ummmm…no.

    Derek Lowe has 43.7 career WAR and is 37. Beckett has 33.4 career WAR and is 30. Even if he only plays 5 more years, Beckett is VERY likely to accumulate more WAR than Lowe.

    Also, considering he’s still averaging over 93 MPH on his fastball (and he’s throwing a 2-seamer which is bringing down his overall velocity; his 4-seamer is still at 94 MPH), I think you might want to rethink your statement on him losing his fastball.

    Comment by Evan Kirkwood — September 13, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

  9. It’s quite simple really.

    These moves were made under the Theo Epstein regime. Theo is considered “saber-friendly”, so this site supports him wholeheartedly as their crediblity is seemingly aligned. Had Omar Minaya made the same decisions, Beckett would be lambasted here.

    In a society like ours, it is most important to understand biases in determining the quality of the source. Generating a narrative based on one’s agenda is far less intellectually taxing than a critical analysis of reality. More importantly, we are raised to be petty, insecure children, so imposing our biases “feels better”.

    Comment by this guy — September 13, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

  10. did you really post that? lol

    Comment by jay destro — September 13, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  11. two words, curt schilling. call me impressionist, but before 2007, beckett was pitching like the typical fireballer, and then suddenly he’s a k/bb diety like the aforementioned. since then, hes pitching like his early self with the approach of curt, and its not working, from my eyes. if he were coaching, we may see the good beckett again.

    Comment by no — September 13, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

  12. The Beckett deal was done while Theo was on sabbatical from the organization, making it more of a Lucchino move. These claims are not just inaccurate, they are downright disrespecting to a site whose content is consistently non-biased.

    Beyond that, this article is saying that Beckett is the Red Sox “Guy”, making this most recent contract far less “saber-friendly” that “this guy” is making it out to be. What is “saber-friendly” about a long term signing of a guy whose peripherals have declined in each of the past 3 seasons? Had Omar Minaya made the same decisions, maybe the Mets wouldn’t be languishing in overpriced mediocrity.

    Comment by nmh — September 13, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  13. Too bad I am a total douche who throws at the next batter every time I get hit hard.

    Comment by Josh Beckett — September 13, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

  14. Thank you. I’ve felt this way after looking at Beckett’s stats. His peripherals are the same as last years when he was a valuable pitcher for the Sox. I don’t expect him to put up an ERA near 3.00 but mid 3s is all the Sox need from their #3 guy (though I expect regression from Buchholz).

    Comment by James — September 13, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

  15. Beckett has lost a couple of miles off of his fast ball and has command issues.
    His last 4 starts have been against the Mariners, Orioles, White Sox and Athletics. Not factoring in quality of opposition when looking at stats is a mortal sin, at least it should be.

    He finished 2008 and 2009 poorly, in 2008 due to injury. In his last 9 starts
    in 2009 he put up an ERA over 6. This year has been a disaster, of the 66 AL pitchers who have made 18 or more starts, only 3 have a worse ERA.

    Beckett has a history of labrum issues with the Marlins and refused to have surgery, and this was a concern at the time the trade was made. While he overcame his labrum issues with shoulder strengthening, he never threw a lot of innings until he joined the Red Sox and last year was his career high. When he signed his extension, Theo made a point of saying it was insurable, which I thought curious at the time (a couple of years earlier it was not insurable according to Beckett, but apparently enough time has passed without having any reported labrum issues).

    Beckett signed a contract short on years and dollars despite being 1 good year away from a bigger and longer contract. The fact he took the conservative approach might suggest he was not feeling all that great, and this was before he hurt his back. It’s a good thing he signed it because he would get nothing close to what he received as a FA after this year.

    Now, I don’t know exactly what is Becketts problem, but I would not be surprised if that bad back was just a cover for a labrum issue. In fact, shortly after Beckett went on the DL, Tito said he strained his labrum pitching through his bad back. Never any mention of a MRI on his shoulder or back (that kept him out 2 months), and he never mentioned the labrum again (slip of the tongue?) .

    I would not be all that optimistic about next year. Of course, his next 2 starts are against Toronto and the Yankees, and if he performs well against them I might be somewhat more optimistic.

    Comment by pft — September 14, 2010 @ 12:56 am

  16. I have to say I really don’t get the point of this article. This seems like it was written for the Boston Globe, not Fangraphs.

    Your evidence for a Beckett resurgence is:
    -he looks better now than he did earlier
    -he seems to pitch poorly the first year after he signs a contract and well the second year after? Seriously?

    I’m not stating my own opinion on Beckett for 2011, but whatever my beliefs, this article is weak sauce. I expect a lot more from you guys.

    Comment by Noseeum — September 14, 2010 @ 2:26 am

  17. And really with a headline like “Expect Beckett to Come up Big…” on Fangraphs? There’s not even any digging into the numbers here. Just weird. A title like that I expect some in depth analysis from fangraphs. This just feels like having to meet a deadline.

    Comment by Noseeum — September 14, 2010 @ 2:31 am

  18. Yea I’m still not sure why we should expect Beckett to be better then your average starter. I feel like this is an article you read on Boston sites after each of his seasons except maybe 2007. He has pitched better, but recently he’s not been amazing, I suppose he has potential, but most pitchers in the league have potential, that doesn’t mean they’re going to come through on it. Beckett did once, will we ever see it again? Maybe, but his numbers this year don’t suggest anything fantastic. Given his past, he’s more likely to miss a month then get a top 10 cy-young placement.

    Comment by Cliff Lee's Changeup — September 14, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  19. This

    Comment by John — September 14, 2010 @ 5:36 pm

  20. Anybody that believes Beckett is the ace over Lester is beyond misinformed.

    Comment by John — September 14, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

  21. He was extended under Theo and the brain trust that made the move was the same.

    You think these guys sit there in a dark room by themselves conjuring up these moves? There’s a whole support team in place, particularly for the “saber-friendly” guys. Theo doesn’t do his own math. You guys have conjured up a fantasy of how the business works, and all of you sound like asses everytime you comment.

    Comment by this guy — September 15, 2010 @ 9:07 am

  22. anybody who cares who the ‘ace’ is on the team is worrying about idiotic issues. josh would be the ‘ace’ on most MLB teams but he pitches for the red sox, so he isnt….who cares? i love how people need to point out who the actual ace on each team is as if it adds some magical value to a starters ability. call him (or lester or buchholz) whatever you want, they are still what they are, one low 3 fip pitcher and two medium to high 3 fip pitchers….all three of them are capable of being called ‘aces’ and all three are capable of playing second or third fiddle (put lester on 3-4 teams and hes suddenly not the ace anymore, which shows why worrying about whom the ace is or why projecting a young player as an ace or a mid rotation starter is dumb practice. it just doesn’t matter as your role is subjected to the variance of what team you pitch for).

    Comment by pele — September 15, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  23. The ace is the best pitcher on the team. Josh Beckett is not the best pitcher on the team. Jon Lester is. Jon Lester is the Red Sox ace. Nice rant though.

    Comment by John — September 15, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

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