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Tuesday Discussion: More Josh Beckett

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AP photo

Josh Beckett and his Evil Spock Goatee

Continuing our discussion of Josh Beckett and young pitchers, here are Beckett's 2004 PECOTA comparisons, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus.

Name W-L IP

  1. Don Wilson 102-92 1748
  2. Jason Bere 74-65 1111
  3. Willard Nixon 69-72 1234
  4. Dennis Bennett 43-47 863
  5. Scott Sanderson 163-143 2562
  6. Don Newcombe 149-90 2155
  7. Fergie Jenkins 284-226 4501
  8. Johnny Antonelli 126-110 1992
  9. Don Cardwell 102-138 2123
  10. Dick Ruthven 123-127 2109
Note that those PECOTA comps are a year old. If you include 2004 data, I think guys like Bennett and Nixon would drop down, to be replaced by some of the guys in the 11-20 slots, say Bill Singer (13), perhaps Camilo Pascual (19) or even Juan Marichal (20). I'm leaving number 8, John Wetteland, off the list, since I don't think anyone expects Beckett to be converted to relief. Number 11 was Jim Donohue, who was finished by age 23 and is clearly no longer comparable to Beckett.
When the 2005 PECOTAs come out, we'll look at this again.

Anyhow, this list of similar pitchers is more impressive than that generated by the traditional Bill James Sim Score system, and I think the PECOTA comps are more accurate. You still have some short-career guys on the list, but the long-career guys seem, intuitively at least, more like what everyone expects Beckett can develop into.

In yesterday's discussion, some readers pointed out that Beckett's problem with blisters is keeping his workload down during a vulnerable time in his career. Blister problems, while annoying, are certainly not as bad as elbow or shoulder trouble. If he can find a way to overcome the blisters, he could emerge as a very durable pitcher in the long run, since he is avoiding building up too many innings on an immature arm.

Tomorrow we will take a look at Rich Harden, then Jake Peavy on Thursday. Carlos Zambrano on Friday, per reader request. Let's make this Young Pitcher Week and look at Zack Greinke on Saturday.