Josh Beckett was drafted by the Florida Marlins with the second overall pick in the 1999 baseball draft. Beckett skipped college and signed straight out of high school as a highly touted prep pitcher with sky-high potential. Less than two years into his professional career, Beckett reached the Major Leagues and two years later he became a World Series Champion and series MVP. Today, Beckett is a frontline pitcher on a yearly contender, winning a second World Series with the Boston Red Sox and challenging for more as one of the best postseason pitchers in baseball.
Despite being drafted straight out of high school, Josh Beckett’s minor league career was short-lived. In 2000 and 2001, he threw a combined 199.1 innings with an obscene strikeout rate, totaling 264 for a rate of 12 strikeouts per nine innings. He made his Major League debut with the Florida Marlins as a September call-up in 2001 and made four starts with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings and a 1.50 ERA.
Come 2002, Josh Beckett became a permanent fixture in the Marlins’ pitching rotation. In his first full season, he made 21 starts and put up solid numbers as a 22-year old rookie. He punched out 113 batters in 107.2 innings with a 4.10 ERA and .232 opponents’ batting average. In 2003, he became the best pitcher on the Marlins’ staff.
Josh Beckett earned himself the ace title in 2003. During the regular season, he posted a career best 3.04 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning in 24 games. The best of his year was saved for the postseason. Josh Beckett was named Florida’s number one starter in the playoffs, and he responded with a championship performance. He threw 42.2 innings in the playoffs with a 2.11 ERA, 47 strikeouts, and a pair of complete game shutouts. In the World Series, Beckett shined. Pitching on three days rest in game six, he completely shut down the Yankees to win the decisive game. Josh Beckett was named the MVP of the 2003 World Series.
Josh Beckett spent two more seasons in Florida on a team that lost several key pieces after winning a championship. The Marlins traded or lost via free agency many of their key players. Beckett and teammate Mike Lowell were traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2006, a team that was gearing up to be World Series contenders again.
Beckett struggled in his initial transition from the National League to the American League. In 2006, he threw 200 innings for the first time, but posted a 5.01 ERA, by far the highest of his career. He learned the league and in 2007 showed why the Red Sox brought him in to be their ace. He won 20 games as he had a 3.27 ERA in more than 200 innings, finishing second in the AL Cy Young voting.
Beckett put together a dominant postseason that was reminiscent of, if not better than his first. In 30 innings, he allowed only four runs while striking out 35. His four starts included one complete game shutout and a 1.20 ERA. In the 2007 World Series, Beckett and the Red Sox dominated the Colorado Rockies to take home another championship.
Beckett remains a great starting pitcher in the toughest division in baseball for pitchers. In 2008 and 2009, he totaled a 29-16 record with a 3.93 ERA. He has made the AL All-Star team in 2007 and 2009 and in the 2010 season, signed a long-term contract extension to remain with the Boston Red Sox through 2014.