Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yay or Nay: Joe Smith, Josh Beckett

Joe Smith:

I wonder how many more people would be adding Smith if it was official that he was taking over closer duties instead of there being rumors, speculation & sources that he may taking over that role soon. It also seemed sort of curious when the Angels gave him a 3yr 15.75 million dollar deal over the offseason.

While he has only three saves to his credit, smith has done well wherever he's been in his career (135 Career ERA+) and has had an above average ERA+ in every season that he's pitched. He has shown some raw skills that could translate into him working out as a closer as he's struck out 9.9 per 9 and so far his walks per 9 (2.7) is on track to be the best it has been in his career.

His FIP (2.32) is very strong and there aren't any indications or warning flags that he would struggle as a closer like his team mate Ernesto Frieri has. If you have a tough closer situation and have someone that you were already looking to get rid of, pick him up now. If your relief pitching situation is more stable, wait it out for a day to see if they decide to name Joe Smith their closer before picking him up. Either way, I say Yay.

Josh Beckett:

Beckett is coming off of a strong start against Arizona (just like Jason Hammel was when he got towards the top of Yahoo's transaction trends). I guess if you want to increase your fantasy value as a starting pitcher, does part of that mean hope you have an upcoming start against the Diamondbacks?

If it was 5-7 years ago, Beckett would have already been drafted and owners would not be scrambling to pick him up three-plus weeks into the season. Naturally, I am a bit skeptical as the last couple years he's missed significant time with injuries and hasn't been very effective when healthy.

While his ERA is at 2.57, his FIP is at 3.80, not great but possibly helpful as a lower-end starting pitcher option. He is racking up a career high in strikeouts (10.3 per 9) but also doing the same for walks (5.1), his BABIP is a bit low (.242) as well. Unlike other pitchers such as Jason Hammel, there's at least an argument for picking up Beckett but the past health history and the increase in walks per 9 innings makes me say Nay.