172 Strikeouts (8.88 K/9)
34 Walks (1.76 BB/9)
Beckett has been one of the best pitchers in baseball at times, though in recent years he has been putting them up every other season. Last season was a down year, though two injuries certainly factored into that.
If we are to believe the trend, Beckett is in line to post a nasty line. We already know that he has the potential to be one of the better strikeout pitches in the league (he has a career K/9 of 8.56), but he has coupled that in recent years with elite control. When he walked just 1.79 batters per nine innings in 2007 everyone just assumed it was a fluke, but then he went out and repeated it. That tells me something, and I certainly like it.
His BABIP was on the higher side last season and he should see improved luck, only helping things. His career mark is at .301, so if it is possible, he could match, if not improve on, an extremely impressive WHIP.
Factor in that he pitches for the Red Sox, one of, if not the best team in baseball, and you have a pitcher who easily could produce as a Top 5 option, but certainly is an ace of any staff.
195.0 IP, 17 W, 3.60 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 188 K (8.68 K/9), 43 BB (1.98 BB/9)
Obviously, he is a huge risk. Maybe this is the season that he doesn’t bounce back, as he does reside in the toughest division in baseball. While he did pitch well against the Yankees (3.25 ERA over 27.2 innings) and Rays (2.06 ERA over 35.0 innings), it would not be hard to imagine him regressing against both, limiting his success.
Still, he’s proven to be just too good in the past to ignore. While he may not reach the lofty levels I projected, I think it’s safe to grab him as the ace of your fantasy staff.
What do you think? Will he return to being an ace or could he struggle in 2009?
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