FanPost

Josh Beckett struggles - and a suggested rebound

Beckett has been in the media for a lot of the wrong reasons. Since he is struggling his abrupt personality with the media means far more negative exposure than for other struggling stars.

Lets take a brief look at what has changed from 2011 to 2012:

Stat 2011 2012

------ ------- -------

ERA 2.89 5.21

K/9 8.16 6.77

K/BB 3.37 2.44

BABIP 2.45 2.94

LD% 17.6% 21.4%

As we can see all the major numbers are much worse this year. He is striking out much fewer, walking a little more, giving up more line drive hits. The 3.8% Line drive hits would translate to almost 38 points which is most of the BABIP difference.

Many articles break down why he has faltered and it always comes back to velocity. It sounds good. His velocity is lower. But I don't buy it. I see the velocity as more of a correlation rather than causation.

Here is what I see as his problem:

2011

http://pitchfx.texasleaguers.com/pitcher/277417/?batters=A&count=AA&pitches=AA&from=1%2F1%2F2011&to=8%2F27%2F2011

Type Count Selection Velocity Vertical Horizontal

FF 887 35.7% 93.0 8.11 -5.16 214 1,961
FC 505 20.3% 90.3 5.16 1.19 165 1,137
CU 408 16.4% 76.8 -8.20 8.19 46 1,896
CH 353 14.2% 88.4 2.64 -7.96 252 1,661
FT 335 13.5% 93.0 5.40 -9.50 241 2,225

2012

http://pitchfx.texasleaguers.com/pitcher/277417/?batters=A&count=AA&pitches=AA&from=1%2F1%2F2012&to=8%2F27%2F2012

Type Count Selection Velocity Vertical Horizontal

FF 567 27.7% 91.4 7.38 -4.89 214 1,791
FT 413 20.2% 91.7 5.52 -9.11 239 2,130
CU 369 18.0% 75.8 -8.49 8.17 44 1,906
FC 352 17.2% 89.1 5.80 0.79 172 1,172
CH 331 16.2% 87.2 2.88 -6.80 247 1,479
FA 15 0.7% 91.1 4.53 -7.70 240 1,786
UN 1 0.0% 41.7 6.54 -0.70 186 606

What I'm focusing on is his cutter. This pitch is being used more than ever by him and it's effectiveness has gone way down.

The spin rate on his cutter has gone up giving more drop but less horizontal "hop". Also, due to a higher spin rate the velocity is down. He is using it as a cutter but getting less velocity and less horizontal late hop. It does sink more but that isn't ideal for this type of pitch especially riding it in on the hands of LH hitters. The numbers?

Last year LH hitters had a .262 wOBA and this year they are at an astounding .353 wOBA. Last year RH hitters had a .299 wOBA and this year they have a .302 wOBA.

I believe this is why many pitchers and pitching coaches mention cutters cost velocity. They probably do not directly cause a loss of velocity. But pitchers can start throwing more cutters and throwing more spin. Bad spin. Which can cost velocity, and more importantly get the wrong type of movement.

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