Chat with Rob Neyer

Auto Update: Off
Welcome to The Show! Rob Neyer is stopping by Friday at 1 p.m. ET for the second installment of our Hot Stove Heaters chats! Check back each day for a new topic and a new chat! Take it away, Rob!

Question: If you could have one right-handed pitcher for your team in 2008, who would you choose?

For the sake of argument, for the moment we're going to assume your choice is between Jake Peavy and Josh Beckett. Seems reasonable enough, right? In the National League, Peavy was the unanimous winner of the Cy Young Award last season. In the American League, Beckett finished a strong second in the Cy Young balloting, behind left-hander C.C. Sabathia, and that was before October, when he won all four of his starts and gave up only four runs in 30 innings.

Is there another right-handed starter who deserves a place in this conversation? Yeah, at least a few. But we'll discuss them later. For now let's stick with Peavy and Beckett.

In Beckett's favor:

If we include what happened during the Red Sox's brilliant postseason run, Beckett won 24 games and posted a 3.00 ERA in 2007, and he did most of that while facing American League hitters. He seems to have finally solved the blister problems that punctuated his career so often before last season.

Beckett's control, always solid, became brilliant in '07 as he struck out 194 batters while walking only 40. Beckett throws a mid-90s fastball, one of the game's best 12-to-6 curveballs and a serviceable changeup.

In Peavy's favor:

Peavy's been exceptionally consistent, averaging 32 starts and 210 innings per season over the last three years. In each of those seasons he's finished either first or second in the National League in strikeouts. In 2004, Peavy led the National League in ERA, and he was sixth in 2005. Peavy's ERA jumped to 4.09 in 2006, raising alarm bells in some circles, but his other numbers were solid that season, and of course he rebounded with a brilliant 2007.

It's fair to wonder about Petco Park -- the friendliest park to pitchers in the majors -- but it's worth noting that last season Peavy was 10-1 with a 2.57 ERA on the road; in fact, he's pitched brilliantly away from home in each of his three great seasons. Like Beckett, Peavy throws a low- to mid-90s fastball, but his best breaking pitch is a hard slider that ranks as one of the baseball's best.

Choosing between the two of them is real tough. Beckett's got the better league on his side, while Peavy's got consistency on his side. And it's that consistency that swings me to Peavy, as Beckett has started 30 games only twice in his career, and in one of those seasons his ERA was 5.01.

What do you think?

Vote: Who is the best right-handed starting pitcher in baseball?

Hot Stove Heaters Archive


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.