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   1. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:31 PM (#3494560)
Josh Beckett, by his component ratios and neutralized stats, is one of the few best pitchers in the American League.

Beckett's ERA was higher than his FIP every year except 2006. He's no Javier Vazquez in this regard, but still, by now there more than enough data that we can conclude that FIP overrates him. The extension is fair value, if the Red Sox win in anyway, it's in having it a year shorter than Burnett's and Lackey's deals. In my humble opinion, Burnett, Lackey and Beckett are all at the same level - very good but not great.

I find Beckett very frustrating, because he's hyped as a great ace, performs like a great ace for a while and just when you get comfortable,
starts giving up extra base hits in bunches.
   2. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:56 PM (#3494591)
Is it me or is beckett mostly bad agains the yankees?
   3. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:58 PM (#3494594)
I remember when the great ace Roger Clemens couldn't beat the A's or Dave Stewart to save his life and he was considered an ace. There is no such thing as a pitcher who absolutely dominates and wins every single game.

FIP is flawed in regard to Beckett since it is highly dependent on HR and HR are dependent on home ballpark. xFIP tries to figure out HR as a percentage of fly balls and thus remove part of the noise that the home ballpark generates, and is a better stat. You should be a little skeptical of FIP since he beat FIP in Florida but his FIP was automatically higher when he came to Fenway. If he was still in Florida, we'd be having the "Beckett might be the best pitcher of his generation" conversation, instead of "is he worth this much money?"
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:01 PM (#3494601)
9-5, 5.51. It seems to me that he's more hit or miss against the Yankees. He's had some great outings (twice last year he allowed 0 runs in starts) but he's had some real clunkers too (Sunday, the 5 HR game last year) just to name a few.
   5. Joel W Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:08 PM (#3494610)
I don't know that we need to go that advanced to say he has been really f'ing good since 2006. From 2007-2009 he threw 587 innings with an ERA+ of 127, which Fangraphs apparently values at about $24 million per year. He's really good.

It all makes you wonder, what the hell happened in 2006?
   6. Danny Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:09 PM (#3494613)
Further, it’s not like Josh Beckett is Javier Vazquez, a pitcher whose component numbers seem out of line with both his results and his stuff. Josh Beckett hasn’t lost anything off the plus-plus stuff that made him one of the greatest pitching prospects ever, and he’s added impressive levels of control in the last three years. Beckett’s results in run prevention have been out of line not only with his stuff, but also with the number of runs you’d expect him to allow based on his strikeouts and walks and groundball rate.

I'm not sure I understand this argument. Are you saying that we should expect Vazquez to continue underperfroming his peripherals because he doesn't have great stuff, and that we should expect Beckett's run prevention to improve to match his peripherals because he has great stuff?
   7. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:10 PM (#3494614)
Using arguments based on perhipherals for a guy who has shown a consistent tendency to underpitch his peripherals would be disingenuous, though, as anybody who isn't a total fundamentalist can see. Perhipherals are suggestive of other, more important results -- but they aren't determinitiive.

As for Beckett, he can be inconsistent and gives up a lot of doubles. Also, he has a stupid beard. They money looks about right to me.
   8. Mattbert Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:11 PM (#3494615)
In my humble opinion, Burnett, Lackey and Beckett are all at the same level - very good but not great.

IMHO, Beckett's ceiling is higher than either of those guys. He has better command than Burnett and better stuff than Lackey. Of course, he doesn’t always put the two together week in and week out, but that’s why it’s his ceiling and not his median or whatever. And when he does put it together, you get a CYA-caliber season like 2007.
   9. Rafael Bellylard: A failure of the waist. Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:16 PM (#3494622)
The way I've looked at Beckett is there are about a dozen starters I'd rather have, about two dozen he's even with, and about 120 starters he's better than.

I'll take him if you don't want him.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:17 PM (#3494623)
IMHO, Beckett's ceiling is higher than either of those guys. He has better command than Burnett and better stuff than Lackey. Of course, he doesn’t always put the two together week in and week out, but that’s why it’s his ceiling and not his median or whatever. And when he does put it together, you get a CYA-caliber season like 2007.

As opposed to Lackey's 2007 season?

2007 Beckett 200.2 IP 145 ERA+
2007 Lackey 224.0 IP 150 ERA+

Lackey and Beckett are basically equivalent, and one notch up for Burnett, IMHO. Though Lackey has been quite a bit better if you look at last 5 years.
   11. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:33 PM (#3494633)
Better starters for next 4 years:

Lincecum
King Felix
Greinke
Sabathia
Halladay
Lester
Lee (maybe)
Verlander
Cain (maybe)
Haren
Gallardo (maybe)
Wainwright (maybe)
Strassburg

The tampa and baltimore staffs have potential break outs, as well.

But if you limit it to better starters for 2010, then I think Beckett is at the Cliff Lee tier, or close.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:38 PM (#3494640)
Lincecum
King Felix
Greinke
Sabathia
Halladay
Lester
Lee (maybe)
Verlander
Cain (maybe)
Haren
Gallardo (maybe)
Wainwright (maybe)
Strassburg



If you're including Strasburg, then I'd think Hanson has to be on the list. Perhaps Jurrjens as well.
   13. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:39 PM (#3494642)
I'd rather have Kershaw, too.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:40 PM (#3494643)
I don't know that we need to go that advanced to say he has been really f'ing good since 2006. From 2007-2009 he threw 587 innings with an ERA+ of 127, which Fangraphs apparently values at about $24 million per year. He's really good.
Fangraphs' pitcher values are based on either FIP or xFIP, don't remember which. I think it's a category mistake. Either way, though, the number you're citing is based on the numbers I was citing.
I'm not sure I understand this argument. Are you saying that we should expect Vazquez to continue underperfroming his peripherals because he doesn't have great stuff, and that we should expect Beckett's run prevention to improve to match his peripherals because he has great stuff?
Basically, it's easy to watch Josh Beckett and say, "that's a great pitcher." Then you look at his stats and his component numbers match up better with that impression than his run prevention totals. You watch Javier Vazquez and he looks like a pretty good pitcher, and his run prevention numbers match that impression better than his component stats.

I'm not trying to figure out whether under- or over-performance of component numbers will continue, I'm trying to figure out just how good a pitcher Josh Beckett is, and I was using Javier Vazquez as an interesting comparable. That is, if Javier Vazquez were to have a season where he was a somewhat above average innings eater, and his component numbers matched that performance, I wouldn't have to go back and say, "well, I was wrong, Vazquez didn't underperform his K/BB rate this year." Vazquez would be exactly the somewhat above average innings eater I expected him to be.
   15. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:44 PM (#3494647)
Doh! Forgot hanson and kershaw, although it's a toss up in 2010 between them and Beckett.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3494651)
Better starters for next 4 years:

Lincecum
King Felix
Greinke
Sabathia
Halladay
Lester
Lee (maybe)
Verlander
Cain (maybe)
Haren
Gallardo (maybe)
Wainwright (maybe)
Strassburg


Ubaldo Jiminez? Josh Johnson?
   17. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:51 PM (#3494654)
Sheesh! There are a bunch of exciting young guys, aren't there? You can add brett anderson's name to the list as well.
   18. Joel W Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:59 PM (#3494665)
MCA, my mistake, it is FIP.
   19. RJ in TO Posted: April 06, 2010 at 05:10 PM (#3494678)
Fangraphs' pitcher values are based on either FIP or xFIP, don't remember which. I think it's a category mistake. Either way, though, the number you're citing is based on the numbers I was citing.


With respect to Fangraphs' salary estimates, how do they calculate salaries? Is it a straight multiplication of WAR by the previous season's FA $/WAR, or do they do a non-linear calculation whereas each incremental chunk of WAR is values more highly than the previous chunk (valuing that second win from the same player at a higher rate than the first)? Also, assuming that Fangraphs uses a linear relationship, does anyone know how tight the correlation is?
   20. Accent Shallow Posted: April 06, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3494682)
FIP is flawed in regard to Beckett since it is highly dependent on HR and HR are dependent on home ballpark. xFIP tries to figure out HR as a percentage of fly balls and thus remove part of the noise that the home ballpark generates, and is a better stat. You should be a little skeptical of FIP since he beat FIP in Florida but his FIP was automatically higher when he came to Fenway. If he was still in Florida, we'd be having the "Beckett might be the best pitcher of his generation" conversation, instead of "is he worth this much money?"

I disagree with this entire paragraph. Preventing home runs is a skill, and with xFIP, you're looking at little more than K/BB ratio, which Beckett, to his credit, excels at. Secondly, has Beckett ever been in the conversation for "best pitcher of his generation"? I'm guessing no, which doesn't bother me -- he's a well above average pitcher, but other than 2007, he's never had a CY-worth season.

That said, I think this is a nice deal for the Sox -- I'd take Beckett over Lackey (due to stuff, age, and injury concerns), and they're giving him less years and a lower AAV.
   21. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 05:27 PM (#3494705)
FIP is flawed in regard to Beckett since it is highly dependent on HR and HR are dependent on home ballpark. xFIP tries to figure out HR as a percentage of fly balls and thus remove part of the noise that the home ballpark generates, and is a better stat. You should be a little skeptical of FIP since he beat FIP in Florida but his FIP was automatically higher when he came to Fenway. If he was still in Florida, we'd be having the "Beckett might be the best pitcher of his generation" conversation, instead of "is he worth this much money?"

He didn't beat FIP in Florida. He underperformed it. If he was still in Florida, he'd probably still be having blister problems, so he wouldn't be in the greatest pitcher of his generation conversation either.

Beckett doesn't systematically under-perform his xFIP, so giving up excessive HR isn't his problem, despite the bad impression lingering after 2006. I think his problem is greater than average inconsistency on a game to game basis. He'll dominate for a stretch and then blow up on a bad day. Of course, one can argue that a starter giving up 0,0,6 runs in 3 game stretch will give his team more wins than a starter giving up 2,2,2 runs despite them having the same ERA, so ERA underrates inconsistent pitchers in general and Beckett in particular. So he has the same problem as Burnett, just to a lesser extent. Baseball prospectus has the Support Neutral Wins statistics which are supposed to compensate for this effect.
Here are the data for 2007,2008 & 2009. Actually he doesn't come out to great in those reports either - being rated around 30th best pitcher in baseball. In two of those years, AJ Burnett was actually rated higher. heh I might be completely wrong here :)
   22. John DiFool2 Posted: April 06, 2010 at 11:19 PM (#3495141)
...starts giving up extra base hits in bunches.


Wasn't there an old study or two which showed that extra base hit rates for those which stay in the park are almost entirely dependent on the defense and not the pitcher? He does throw in a park which is huge for doubles, and his doubles rates are almost perfectly in line with Fenway's park effect. Maybe xFIP doesn't adjust for that or something.

And, as a wise old saberhead once said (current Sox employee <ahem>), he often kept waiting for the luck to balance out over a player's career-but sometimes it never did. The discrepancy between ERA and xFIP is valid only to the extent that it is predictive of performance going forward. I myself tend to be a bit optimistic on that score-his K/W ratio is a huge advantage for him (if of course he doesn't actually walk 3 and K 1 every game this season). The improved Sox D this year may be an interesting variable to watch this year as far as it affects all the above.
   23. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: April 07, 2010 at 08:20 AM (#3495631)
It's a good deal - decent starting pitching is hard to find.
   24. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 07, 2010 at 09:07 AM (#3495633)
the 5 HR game last year

I was at that game. Man, that sucked, though I don't know why he was in the game as long as he was.
   25. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 07, 2010 at 11:33 AM (#3495645)
Strassburg? You're crazy. He may become what you say he already is, but, please, try to avoid making the trendy prediction for sake of being trendy. The guy hasn't won a MLB game yet.
   26. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 07, 2010 at 11:35 AM (#3495647)
An eighteen month old boy just threw his sippy cup 45 feet, though a closed double paned window yesterday. He's going to be better than Bob Gibson! Sign him up!
   27. TomH Posted: April 09, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3498432)
so... thru 3 games, the Red Sox have used exactly 9 batters. No PR, no PH, no late-inning defense, no regular-gets-a-day-off, no platoons. Zip.

Are they going back to the old Sox way, having starters put up superficially great numbers, letting the bench rot? The heck with any strategy? And a corresponding plummet in Aug/Sep?
   28. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 09, 2010 at 04:55 PM (#3498437)
Are they going back to the old Sox way, having starters put up superficially great numbers, letting the bench rot? The heck with any strategy? And a corresponding plummet in Aug/Sep?

Read the first four words of your post again.
   29. Dale Sams Posted: April 09, 2010 at 06:52 PM (#3498600)
Are they going back to the old Sox way, having starters put up superficially great numbers, letting the bench rot?


Really? Grown men who we assume are better than their counterparts on the bench can't play 3 games of baseball, at home, in 4 days?

That said, I'd have been happy to let Lowell bat for Papi, confidence-smashing be damned.
   30. TomH Posted: April 09, 2010 at 07:18 PM (#3498629)
yes, it;'s only 3 games; but ask it this way -- of the 29 other MLB clubs, how many used more than 9 hitters so far?
If you want to compare small samples during impt games, how many playoff series have featured teams using only 9 hitters? I believe the answer is one, the 76 Reds.
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 09, 2010 at 07:25 PM (#3498643)
Other than Mike Lowell PHing for Ortiz (and there are valid reasons for not doing that), what move should they have made? There isn't a defensive move to be made, none of their bench players are superior defensively to the starters, and I can't recall any situations where a pinch runner was necessary. I would bet that by the time you sit down to watch Sunday Night Baseball all 25 players will have played at least once.
   32. RJ in TO Posted: April 09, 2010 at 07:27 PM (#3498645)
Is there someone on the bench who desperately needed to get into a game during that first series, and who is better than the current starter?

Besides, the backups can play when the Sox are facing the Jays or the Orioles, when the Sox can afford to run out a slightly weaker lineup. Against the Yankees (and the Rays), the Red Sox need their A-list players to compete.
   33. tjm1 Posted: April 09, 2010 at 08:04 PM (#3498689)
As for 2006, Beckett got really fastball-happy that year. I don't know whether that was bad strategy of because he was trying to avoid the blister problems.
   34. tfbg9 Posted: April 15, 2010 at 08:04 PM (#3503714)
How Good Is Josh Beckett?


He's a lot better than Tim "Ruin the Day" Wakefield.
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: April 16, 2010 at 04:53 PM (#3504467)
The long homestand wrapped around Marathon Monday is upon us. In the past decade, the Sox have won a huge percentage of these homestands' games, hopefully that tradition will carry on.

Anyone want to hazard a guess when the games this weekend will actually be played? The weather forecast is abysmal. I am going to tomorrow night's game, but I'm thinking we might end up with doubleheaders on sunday and monday. For anyone who wants to brave the cold, there are tickets listed for less than face value on stubhub and ace tickets, etc.

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