Josh Beckett has been trapped in a vortex of bad pitching and terrible circumstances for quite some time. His spring training was so bad that many experts where predicting the Los Angeles Dodgers would release him at some point during the 2014 season.
Beginning on September 30, 2012 he went fourteen straight starts without a victory. A lot of patience on the Dodgers part is finally beginning to pay off. His May 13th start against the Miami Marlins was his first victory in a Dodger uniform in over a year.
It’s not difficult to cut through all of the numbers and rhetoric and discover what has led to Josh Beckett’s success in the early going of 2014. His dominant curveball is back in a very big way.
He doesn’t possess a fastball that blows away hitters at 97 mph any longer. It was clocked at 93 mph during his last start. He has had to learn how to use his curveball and change up early in counts and not rely on his once vaunted fastball.
He is throwing his curveball more than he has at any other time in his career. In the month of May he is throwing his curveball 34% of the time, which is ranked among the top three pitchers in baseball with the amount of curveballs thrown per start. He threw it 36 times in his win over the Marlins.
Hitters are hitting .111 against Beckett when he throws the curveball. He has a 1.67 ERA over his last six starts. It’s not a coincidence that he started featuring his breaking pitch at the very same time he found that hitters have very little success against his curveball.
Josh Beckett is a more mature pitcher with the Dodgers than he was when they first acquired him from the Boston Red Sox nearly two seasons ago. He has had to adjust for the diminished fastball. He is becoming a very different pitcher than what we are use to from him. You would rarely have seen him throw a curveball or a changeup with the first pitch three years ago. He is routinely using his off speed pitches now, very early in counts.
He is available in some ESPN leagues right now. Currently, he is owned in 64% of all leagues. I guess there are some owners that still don’t trust Josh Beckett’s resurgence. I truly believe his dominant pitching will continue throughout the rest of the season.
By all means grab him now if he is available. He is a great target for a trade if you can get an owner to throw him into a deal and not reveal that he is your true trade target. He will absolutely help your pitching staff the rest of the way forward.