Fantasy Baseball Sell-High Candidates: Josh Beckett & Jhoulys Chacin

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJune 14, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 09:  Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees on June 9, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Fantasy owners are always looking to maximize value, whether by  acquiring a player or trading one away.  Let’s take a look at two pitchers whose value may have peaked for the 2011 season:

Josh Beckett—Boston Red Sox

Beckett has enjoyed a renaissance campaign in 2011, posting a 2.06 ERA and 1.01 WHIP thus far.  That certainly has fantasy owners excited enough to toss him into their lineup each time he steps on the mound. But is there reason to be concerned?

Warning signals are everywhere.  You can start with the obvious: Becket has posted a .235 BABIP and accumulated a 84.1% strand rate, both of which scream for regression.  Beckett's strikeout rate and fastball velocity have also dropped in 2011. 

  • 2008: 8.88 K/9 (94.3 mph)
  • 2009: 8.43 K/9 (94.3 mph)
  • 2010: 8.18 K/9 (93.5 mph)
  • 2011: 7.92 K/9 (92.9 mph)

He also has a minuscule HR/FB rate of only 4.4 percent.  10.6 percent of fly balls have left the park against Beckett in his career, and this rate has not dipped below 7.2 percent since 2002. Furthermore, Beckett has posted HR/FB rates of 12.8 and 14.2 percent in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Thus, this is another statistic it is hard to imagine Beckett maintaining.

The numbers are screaming for regression, and his value may never get higher in 2011 than it is right now.  Shopping him around makes perfect sense.


Jhoulys Chacin—Colorado Rockies

 Chacin was significantly hyped prior to the season and, thus far, he has delivered on the hype .  He is currently 7-4 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  However, can we really say that what he’s done thus far is fully believable?

Chacin is currently pitching with a .226 BABIP and a 79.3 percent strand rate—two numbers that certainly could regress.  Additionally notable is Chacin's 60.5 percent ground ball rate.  In 2010, Chacin posted a ground ball rate of only 46.6 percent over 137.1 innings. Which one is it?

On top of that, his line drive rate of 11.9 percent is third best in the league among pitchers who qualify for the ERA title.  Since 2005, only two pitchers have posted marks below 14.0 percent (Tim Hudson and Fausto Carmona, both in 2010).  Can we really expect Chacin to sustain this mark?  Regression here would have an effect on his BABIP and surrounding statistics.

Chacin marks a perfect opportunity to sell, because not only was he highly hyped prior to the season, but thus far he has delivered.  An owner who was upset not to acquire him on draft day certainly may be willing to now overpay to get him.  If the price is right, I  wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

What are your thoughts on these two pitchers?  Would you hold onto them or try to maximize their value in a trade?

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