Can Josh Beckett Rebound In 2011?

Josh Beckett suffered through one of the worst seasons of his career.  All you have to do is look at the numbers to understand just how bad it was:

6 Wins
127.2 Innings
5.78 ERA
1.54 WHIP
116 Strikeouts (8.2 K/9)
45 Walks (3.2 BB/9)
.349 BABIP

Before we get into specifics, Beckett has coincidentally alternated good and bad years dating back to 2005.  It’s odd, for sure, but it actually is a fact.  Just look at his ERAs:

  • 2005 – 3.37
  • 2006 – 5.01
  • 2007 – 3.27
  • 2008 – 4.03
  • 2009 – 3.86

And then last year’s disaster, which is the worst of them all.  It was the first time since 2003 that he had a WHIP above 1.29.  The first time since 2006 that he had a WHIP above 1.19.

The BABIP played a major role in his struggles.  He clearly suffered from sub par luck, both there and in his strand rate (65.3%).  A pitcher of his stature is not supposed to go through years like this.  He has the stuff to excel and that is supposed to trump bad luck.

Unfortunately, that’s just not the way baseball works.  There are year’s where the luck just doesn’t even out and skill is irrelevant.  That’s one of the major reasons that Beckett’s numbers were as poor as they were.

He also suffered from back problems, which likely helped his control suffer.  His BB/9 the previous three seasons had been 1.8, 1.8 and 2.3.  While his 3.2 is still very good, it’s not in the same class that he has shown capable.

A lot of those problems were in the first half of the season, when he posted a 3.8 BB/9.  After the All-Star Break, when his health appeared to be better (he made six starts in August and five starts in September), his BB/9 was at 2.9.  That’s significantly more palatable, and more in line with what he has proven capable in the past.

None of that even mentions how home run prone he suddenly became.  Over the past three seasons he had posted HR/9 of 0.8, 0.9 and 1.1.  In 2010, his mark was at 1.4.

There’s nothing significant in the numbers that scream regression, though his HR/FB was his highest since 2006, posting a 14.2% mark.  It’s very easy to see this number falling back in line as well.

The Red Sox had significant problems throughout the year with injuries and inability.  It was just one thing after another, with seemingly all of their key players missing time at one point or another.

That being said, it’s impossible to take Beckett’s struggles too seriously.  He’s proven just how good he good be in the past and while he had his problems, a lot of them were due to bad luck more then anything else.

He showed that he still had his control in the second half.  At 30-years old, it’s easy to believe that he’s going to turn things around, just like he always seems capable of doing.  He’s proven time and time again that he’s worth owning in all formats, and 2011 should be seen as nothing different.

It’s too early to tell where he is going to go on draft day, but if other owners are scared off you are likely to get quite the bargain if you are willing to take the risk.

What are your thoughts on Beckett?  Do you think he’s going to rebound in 2011?  Do you think he is going to struggle once again?

Make sure to check out our review of other players who struggled in 2010 and their prospects for a rebound:

One comment

  1. I have always been a Beckett fan and will take the plunge again next year when he is real cheap. I hate the division and ballpark but he is a nice buy low for 2011.

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