Josh Beckett- I never left

One of the more annoying media narratives of the past year has been the “decline” of Josh Beckett. After posting three consecutive seasons of 5+ fWAR and being one of the best pitchers in baseball, Beckett sucked in 2010. He was hurt, and his ERA imploded to 5.47. So naturally the media thought Josh Beckett fell apart and was no longer the stud that he was. Which makes no sense to me, considering he had ONE bad season. For real, from 2007-2009 he was monster accumulating 16.7 fWAR. Has no pitcher ever had a bad season before? Hell, after posting six straight seasons of at least 7fWAR, Randy Johnson “only” had a 2.7 fWAR the next season. And the season after that- it was 9.9. I’m not saying Josh Beckett is Randy Johnson, but the “oh noes what’s wrong with Beckett?!!?!!?” storyline is one of the more ill-conceived notions the MSM has constructed in a while. And it took was a simple look at his 2010 numbers to see why.

As far as strikeouts go, Beckett had a 8.18 K/9, which was in line with his career rate. However, his HR/9 skyrocketed to 1.41 despite the fact his FB% was in line with his career average. So what happened? BABIP. It was .338, a career high for him. As a result, home runs against surged and his LOB% fell to a lowly 65.3%. Ouch. Despite all that, his FIP was still 4.54 and his xFIP was 3.86. Naturally one would expect his BABIP, resulting in less homers and more runners stranded. Assuming his K rate stays the same, he would be back to his old.

So, Josh Beckett would like to say, “F-U” to the MSM. Granted he has a very SSS of 20 innings this season, but his K/9 is 10.35 and he has a 1.97 FIP. After dealing with injury most of last season, Beckett seems to have finally got his strength and mechanics back. And fortune has been on his side.

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