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Fantasy baseball nuggets: Josh Johnson, Josh Beckett

By Nicholas Minnix

The word on and initial results from Josh Johnson this spring training have been encouraging. The San Diego Padres' official site had some hopeful info about his work on his delivery with pitching coach Darren Balsley and his concentration on his efforts to increase the effectiveness of his changeup.

Los Angeles Dodgers SP Josh Beckett
Who actually bets on Beckett?

If you've maintained an open mind about the player pool, this isn't exactly news you can use. The article has simply provided a snapshot of the process Johnson has been following in his attempt to revive a career that was so promising just a few short years ago. There are several reasons to believe that Johnson's rebound is imminent.

  • He's 30 years old.
  • He has no health issues at this time and is five months removed from a procedure to remove loose bodies and a bone spur from his pitching elbow.
  • He's maintained a healthy lifetime strikeout rate and, in the NL West, should have little trouble posting another of at least 20 percent.
  • MLB opposition can make a pitcher pay frequently for mistakes. And, of course, there are outliers. Then there's Johnson's 18.5 HR/FB of 2013. His career rate (after last season): 8.2 percent.
  • He left the AL East, where he made nine of his 16 2013 starts at the Rogers Centre and also pitched at Camden Yards and Fenway Park.
  • He made his way to sunny San Diego, where he'll do the duty half of the time at Petco Park. He'll visit AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium, where the lineups might be pretty good but at least the damage could be mitigated.
  • The Friars have a superb track record when it comes to the identification of problems for pitchers and the implementation of plans to correct those.

How much have you bought into the notion that it's no longer roto taboo to pay more for pitching? The more you haven't, the more you could stand to follow stories like this one -- and the next one -- and be willing to give them a chance. That might mean a round early or an extra dollar for the kind of results they can deliver.

Beckett ready to bounce back?

Josh Beckett hasn't felt numbness in the fingers of his right hand or irritation in his right elbow for some time. The procedure he underwent to relieve the complications of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is, so far, a success.

Of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers' right-handed starter has never been what you would call dependable. The next ailment may be just around the corner.

But who likes Josh Beckett this year? Certainly no one in the NFBC, where his ADP is 437.84 at this moment.

He's the kind of pitcher the crowd buys after he's had a very good season, without a major injury, and avoids after he's had a tumultuous or injury-plagued campaign. He's still a skilled pitcher. He's in a good pitching environment. He's backed by a good team. And the crowd doesn't give him much of a chance.

Opportunistic fantasy owners love those types. What does anyone have to lose?


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