Robbie Beckett – 1991 Score

October 26, 2010

The Gun That Shoots Fast Doesn’t Shoot Long (Except For Nolan Ryan and Bob Feller)

Mr. Beckett had a fastball. And it was a major league caliber fastball. However, much like Vladimir and Estragon, many wags were waiting…waiting…waiting…

By the time he appeared, everyone was gone, really.

Now, he wasn’t as extreme as Steve Dalkowski or Bill Bene, but he was a bit wild. However, Baseball America luuurrrved hard throwers, so he was a top 50 prospect before his full season debut in 1991. The bonus, as you see, was that he was a lefty flame thrower.

Then he went 2-14 with an 8.23 for low-A Charleston. 115 hits and 117 walks in 109 1/3 innings.

In 1992, for Waterloo, 140 walks in 120 1/3 innings. Was his eyelid stuck open? Garters on backwards?

In 1993, for Rancho Cucamonga, 2-4 with 4 saves and a 6.02 ERA. 83 2/3 innings, 93 walks. But for some reason, he was a top 100 prospect again for 1994 according to Baseball America.

Well, that was rather much obliterated in 1994. At Wichita, he had a pedestrian 1-3, 5.85 stat line with 40 walks in 40 innings. Then he was promoted…to Las Vegas.

The PCL was not kind to Robbie.

23 2/3 innings, 27 hits, 39 walks, 36 runs, 31 earned runs.

The bloom was off the rose. Beckett went back to AA in 1995, and put on waivers in 1996. The Marlins snapped him up, but then tried to move him off the 40-man and the Rockies snagged him.

He did finally meet the majors, but in 7 games his line was a bad start:

7 9 10 10 10 8

He still had the heat. 8 K’s in 7 innings. But 10 walks and 9 hits, plus 3 dingers? Yikes.

Beckett, at least from the numbers, never adjusted or changed. He threw hard, gave up walks, and had high ERAs. And when he cut down the walks, he gave up more hits and home runs.

Damned if you do…damned if you don’t.

Could Beckett have resulted from less hype and more instruction? Could he have adjusted? Did having his face on a card as a 17-year old kid hurt his development?

Who knows.

But for almost 10 years, he kept banging his head the same wall – throw hard and let it all hang out.

There’s a very select few that can survive doing that…

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