A lot of attention has been given to the Red Sox’s three MVP candidates: Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, and Dustin Pedroia. And while they deserve every bit of the attention they’ve been given, Josh Beckett could and should win the Cy Young award.
Josh Beckett went from a power pitcher to a complete pitcher this season. His average fastball velocity has dropped 0.7 MPH since last year and 1.5 MPH since 2007. Last season he threw a fastball 36.3% of the time. Yet, so far this season he has thrown it 34.6% of the time.
Beckett threw his cutter just 0.1% of the time back in 2007 and last season 16.2% of the time. This season though, Beckett has thrown it 20.4% of the time. As for his changeup, he threw it 3.8% of the time in 2007, 11.5% of the time in 2010, and so far 15% of the time in this season. For more, see the data bellow from Fan Graphs.
While people have been noticing Beckett’s bounce back season, it doesn’t seem like people are putting him in the same class with C.C. Sabathia, Justin Verlander, and Jered Weaver. But, Beckett’s numbers are equal to Sabathia’s , Verlander’s, and Weaver’s.
Some voters don’t seem to care about wins anymore. Felix Hernandez won the A.L. Cy Young award last year with a thirteen and twelve record. In my opinion the best stats to judge a pitcher on are ERA, WHIP, Batting Average Against, Quality Starts, and K/9. Strikeouts per nine innings is a better stat than strikeouts, but isn’t as important as the other four stats.
Here are the four Cy Young candidates’ stats as well as where their stats rank among American League starting pitchers.
When you average their stat ranks, including wins and K/9, Beckett’s average is eight, Sabathia’s is 8.67, Verlander’s average is 1.83, while Weaver’s is 4.5.
Yet, when you average their stat ranks, without wins and K/9, Beckett’s average is three, Sabathia’s is 10.5, Verlander’s average is 1.5, and Weaver’s is two.
But, when you average their stat ranks, not including wins, Beckett’s average is a five, Sabathia is a 10.2, Verlander’s average is a two, and lastly, Weaver has an average on 4.8.
However, when you average their stat ranks, not including K/9, Beckett is a seven, Sabathia is an 8.6, while Verlander’s average is 1.4, and Weaver has an average of 2.2.
What can you take away from this? Well, Sabathia hasn’t been as good as he has been subscribed. He is just benefiting from playing in a large market. Verlander is first, every time you do it, but Weaver follows in at a close second and Beckett is at a somewhat distant third. If you value any three of the stats used above, than it is clear that Sabathia shouldn’t win the award.
Yet, the voters look at more than stats. If you happen to be a big game pitcher that sure helps. When the Angels played in Detroit recently, Weaver and Verlander went head to head. Verlander carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Weaver on the other hand, gave up two home runs, lost his cool, got ejected and subsequently suspended. Weaver cracked under the pressure of having his team no-hit and going up against one of the best. To me, that moment showed that Jered Weaver is not a big game pitcher.
Josh Beckett on the other hand, has a record of three and zero in four starts against the rival, New York Yankees. In those four starts (twenty-seven innings) he has an ERA of 1.00 and an opponent batting average of just .170. Also, against the rival Tampa Bay Rays, Beckett has an ERA of 0.00 and the Rays are hitting just .038 off him this season.
So that leaves Beckett and Verlander. One thing that will help Verlander’s case is his no-hitter this season against the Blue Jays (I guess Toronto forgot to steal signs that day). Yet, if I’m a voter I think the fact that Beckett has reinvented himself as a pitcher will impact my vote. Ohh, and pitching in a bigger market than your “opponent” doesn’t hurt your case.
While the numbers say Verlander should win it, stats can’t tell everything and besides, we still have over seven weeks of baseball to decide on who will be the 2011 A.L. Cy Young award winner.
* All stats as of Thursday, Aug. 11
There are three pros (why the trade will/should happen) and three cons (why the trade won’t/shouldn’t happen). But we’ll start with the pros.
1.) The Dodger’s Financial State.
By now everyone is at least somewhat aware of the Dodger’s current finical state. And Yesterday, a judge rejected owner, Frank McCourt’s financial plan. This means that now, McCourt will have to receive a loan from MLB.
Like said in the previous story, with McCourt barely meeting his recent payrolls, the Dodger’s might try to dump as much salary as possible. Ethier is the third highest paid player on the Dodgers and is due about $3,166,667 for the rest of the season. Ethier’s two-year, $15.25 million dollar contract is up after this year. However, he would stay under team control for one more season.
The Dodgers are trying to lock up their two young stars in Ethier and Matt Kemp, whose contract at the end of this season, but will remain under team control for one more year. Yet, since the Dodgers don’t exactly have cash to spare, they may only be able to sign one player, if any. The Dodger’s need to realize that Ethier and Kemp will be long gone and need to trade them ASAP so they can get a few prospects.
2.) Dustin Pedroia
It doesn’t hurt when the guy who is campaigning for you is probably the most vocal guy on the team. Like mention in the photo caption above, Ethier and Pedroia (as well as Ian Kinsler), played college ball together at Arizona State University and are best friends. And it isn’t like Theo Epstein doesn’t listen to who his players want to play with.
3.) J.D. Drew
He’s thirty-five years old, hitting .129 in his last ten games, and lost his starting job to twenty-four year old kid. Sorry J.D., but your time is up. As for Josh Reddick, can you honestly expect him to keep hitting .356 in September? He’s just a kid and can’t be trusted when it matters most.
Who do you want to have up with two outs and the bases loaded? A player hitting .219 who needs to call it quits, an untested kid, or arguably the clutchest player in baseball in Ethier. In 2009, had six walk off hits (four of them where home runs), the most in the majors since 1974. Subsequently, he won the MLB Clutch Performer of the Year award and won a Silver Slugger.
Now, on to the cons.
1.) The Dodger’s Future
Next year, the Dodgers could have a new owner who has enough money to sign Ethier long term. While Ethier’s return value will decrease if he is traded in the offseason or at next year’s trading deadline, is it a risk worth taking? I mean is getting Felix Doubront (the Red Sox’s number two prospect) and not Anthony Ranaudo (Boston’s number one prospect) that bad? If I were general manager, Ned Colletti, I’d hold on to Ethier until January and if McCourt was still the owner, then trade Ethier. One thing to think about though, is that after the World Series is over, a lockout will occur.
2.) The Prospects
We saw Ryan Kalish blossom last year and if it wasn’t for shoulder and neck injuries, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had been called up before Josh Reddick. Boston has two future stars in Kalish and Reddick and Boston may end up having a position battle in spring training next year. Or have them share time in the outfield. Their last option would be to trade one, because they only really need one of them. And when you have two future stars in right-field do you need a right-fielder who is already a star? No.
3.) Josh Reddick
Simply put the kid is on fire! He has four home runs, eighteen RBI, three triples, slugging .622, and has an average of .356, in just ninety at-bats. When you stretch those numbers out over the amount of at-bats Ethier has, Reddick’s numbers would be superior to Ethier’s and look like this . . .
Would I like Ethier on the Red Sox? Sure, but with Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish waiting in the wings, this deal isn’t necessary.
With the trading deadline less then two weeks away, leading up the the trading deadline, Soxoholics will be taking a look at some guys the Red Sox reportedly have their eye on.
Even though according to various sources it is looking less and less likely that the Mets will be trading their star shortstop, an all-star with an expiring contract on a sub .500 team can never be counted out until August 1st. Jed Lowrie has been on the disabled list for a month now and he’s, “. . . growing stronger, may swing bat soon,” who knows how long he’ll actually be out. Every American league team at least five games back has a better shortstop than Marco Scutaro (no disrespect). Derek Jeter (NYY), Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE), Jhonny Peralta (DET), Alexi Ramirez (CWS), Elvis Andrus (TEX) and Erick Aybar (LAA) are all significantly better than Sctuaro.
Now, even though a trade like this is highly unlikely, what would the Red Sox have to give up in order to get Reyes? Well, if the Mets demanded that they get a shortstop in return, the trade would be completely off as the Red Sox see twenty-one year old, Jose Iglesias as their shortstop of the future. After that the Mets would probably ask for either Stolmy Pimentel or Drake Britton. Lastly, the Red Sox might “toss in” Lars Anderson now that his path to Fenway Park has been blocked do the the Adrian Gonzalez trade. That’s the Red Sox’s first, fourth or sixth, and their fifth ranked prospects. Obviously, that is probably a little too much which is why people negotiate.
One thing to take note on Reyes is that he was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring on July 7th. While it isn’t anything serious and he is due to come back within the next few days, it is just a thought that General Manager and Executive Vice President, Theo Epstein should have in the back of his head.
If the Red Sox do decide to go all in and acquire Reyes, their lineup would feature a player with all-star experience (including four players this year, not including Josh Beckett and Jon Lester) at every position with the exception of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Personally, combined with Josh Beckett, a hot John Lackey, and hopefully a healthy Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, I can’t see how they could be stopped.
However, with so many all-stars in one lineup, what would the lineup look like? This is what I have in mind . . .
1.) Jacoby Ellsbury: CF
2.) Dustin Pedroia: 2B
3.) Adrian Gonzalez: 1B
4.) Kevin Youkilis: 3B
5.) David Ortiz: DH
6.) Carl Crawford: LF
7.) Jose Reyes: SS
8.) J.D. Drew: RF
9.) Jarrod Saltalamacchia/Jason Varitek: C
It’s essentially the same lineup the only difference being Reyes. Crawford and Reyes as well as Drew and Saltalamacchia/ Varitek are interchangeable in my mind. And if Pedroia or Ellsbury begin to slump Reyes could bat first or second. This trade is most likely not going to happen, but if it did, it would take the Red Sox to the next level in my mind. A level that right now, no one is on.
On Saturday evening Red Sox pitcher Andrew Miller had his second start and his second win of the season. Miller (2-0) allowed two earned runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts over six innings to earn his second win since the Red Sox purchased his contract.
Although he wasn’t spectacular, Miller took advantage of facing an Astros team and capitalized on plenty of early run support from Boston’s outstanding offense, with Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis each compiling three hits.
Could Miller be in the starting rotation for the 2012 season?