Don't Expect An Ace Year From Beckett In 2010

Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett qualifies as an ace only in odd years.  Read on to see why.

The Odds and Evens phenomenon is clearly not the best indicator of success.  It is a quirk, an easy, often unpredictable method of determining up years and down years.  Even if a  player starts his career in such a pattern, odds are he’ll break out of it.  Bottom Line: It doesn’t exist that often.  The most famous man to have gone against these odds, was Royals and Mets ace pitcher Brett Saberhagen.

 

ERA Chart for Royals/Mets pitcher Brett Saberhagen

 

 

 

For a period of 10 years  at the beginning of his career, Saberhagen sported an extreme example of the Odd/Even phenomenon.  In even years (1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992) his ERA was a respectable 3.68  But in odd years (1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993), his ERA was a fantastic 2.91.  After these 10 years, Saberhagen, whose career lasted until 2001, broke out of this pattern, aided by a fantastic strike-shortened 1994 season, in which he walked only 13 batters in 177 innings.  What does this have to do with current baseball?

 

Enter Josh Beckett, Red Sox ace, slated to be paid approximately $12 million in 2010.  Beckett’s contract has been a boon for the Red Sox, he’s produced 73 million dollars of value, according to FanGraphs.com , while being paid only 26 million dollars.

 

ERA Chart for Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett

 

 

 

Throughout his entire career, Beckett has exhibited an even stronger case of Odd/Even years, tallying a pedestrian ERA of 4.29 in even years, and a solid mark of 3.42 in odd years.  Red Sox fans better hope that Beckett breaks his pattern this year, or they’ll be paying their “ace” to struggle, not carry them to the pennant.

 

Cover photo by: Wigstruck

 

 


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Arjuna Subramanian

Arjuna Subramanian is an aspiring baseball writer living in the Washington D.C. area.  He started his writing  with his blog Painting The Black on MLBlogs in May of 2009.  He fell in love with the sabermetric movement during the 2008-2009 offseason, and strives to provide balanced articles from both sides of the statistics/scouting divide.  

When not writing, watching/listening to baseball, over-analyzing his Chicago Cubs, staring in disbelief at the writing of Thomas Boswell, or keeping tabs on the latest Milton Bradley blowup, he can usually be found at the DC Fencers Club, where he is a competitive epee fencer.

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