As part of the blockbuster that is saving the Boston Red Sox roughly a quarter of a billion dollars their former ace Josh Beckett is heading out west to the Los Angeles Dodgers and I believe it is a move he will enjoy.
Beckett has pitched the last seven seasons in the toughest division in all of baseball, and maybe in all of sports. Not only has his division been a tough one but his home ballpark is a hitter’s haven.
Beckett owns a career 3.86 ERA but a 4.39 mark in games pitched in Fenway park, which is roughly one-third of his career starts. Don’t blame the fielders either as he owns a 3.70 FIP at Fenway while his career mark sits at 3.72. Blame the ballpark.
In a small sample of 98.1 career innings in National League West ballparks Beckett owns a 3.57 ERA.
Beckett’s home park was not the only factor bringing his numbers down as three out of the four division rivals roughed him up with their usually potent lineups. Take a look at his marks against his divisional foes:
That comes out to a 4.68 ERA against the American League East in his career. During his time with the Red Sox while pitching against National League opponents in Interleague play Beckett posted a 3.10 ERA in 153.2 innings.
Beckett leaves a league that has four of the five teams with a wRC+ of 105 or higher and joins a division where the Rockies have the highest wRC+ at a mere 96. The Giants, Diamondbacks, and Padres each have a 94 and only two teams in the entire National League have a wRC+ over 100.
Beckett may have lost some of his stuff as his fastball has averaged under 92 mph for the first time in his career and his K/9 of 6.64 is easily the lowest of his career but he now gets to pitch in friendlier confines while facing a pitcher two-to-three times each game rather than a designated hitter and the potent American League East lineups.
Beckett may not be the same pitcher he was even one year ago but he will certainly like moving out of Fenway Park and the American League East and I expect to see better numbers out of him as he faces the weaker National League lineups.
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt