Blake Beavan Is Not an MLB Starting Pitcher

Dave · June 5, 2012 at 10:03 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Last year, Blake Beavan got to the big leagues and, despite not actually pitching very well, convinced some people that he was worth a longer look in the rotation. Yeah, okay, he doesn’t get strikeouts or ground balls, and his results actually aren’t very good, but, hey, no walks and weak contact, right?

Err, uhh, well, at least the no walks thing is true. After giving up 10 hits (three of which left the yard) tonight, Beavan is now giving up 1.34 home runs per nine innings and has a .293 batting average on balls in play. Twenty-two percent of opponents balls in play off him are being hit for line drives. The idea that Beavan is somehow a guy who outpitches his peripherals has been completely blown up.

Beavan is a guy who has one Major League skill – the ability to throw the ball down the middle. Besides that, he’s Triple-A fodder. There’s a chance that his stuff could play up in relief and he could be a mediocre middle reliever, but that’s his ceiling. There’s just nothing there to suggest that Blake Beavan is any kind of Major League starting pitcher, and there’s no reason for the Mariners to keep running him out there every five days.

Hisashi Iwakuma is better. Erasmo Ramirez is better. Danny Hultzen is better. I’d pick Iwakuma, personally, but Ramirez has a similar skillset and more of a future in Seattle, so there are valid reasons to give him the spot instead. Either one of them would be a clear and obvious upgrade over Beavan.

It’s time to just pull the plug and admit that Beavan doesn’t have any kind of future as a starting pitcher in the big leagues. Shift him to the bullpen and hope he takes off – if not, at least then the team will have a long reliever that they can trust to warm up on short notice.


49 Responses to “Blake Beavan Is Not an MLB Starting Pitcher”

  1. MrZDevotee on June 5th, 2012 10:07 pm

    / What he said. If we can’t imagine Blake Beavan as a legit starter on a contending team, and that’s what we long to be, well this organization has enough quality pitching that someone else should be getting experience in his place… Nice guy, interesting results last year, but a AAA pitcher in most organizations.

  2. IwearMsHats on June 5th, 2012 10:16 pm

    Maybe Saunders can take his spot in the rotation.

  3. Mariners35 on June 5th, 2012 10:25 pm

    Only one with a worse xFIP on the team is Sherrill. Yikes. Yeah, pull the plug.

    Though, this is a team that is going to start Noesi on short rest rather than Iwakuma tomorrow, so who knows what the M’s will actually do here.

  4. CCW on June 5th, 2012 10:25 pm

    I vote for Erasmo. I find Iwakuma to be uninteresting in the same way I find Millwood to be uninteresting. Perfectly serviceable, but limited upside, and no real chance of helping the M’s win when their main focus should be on winning in a few years.

    Dave, I’m curious what you think of Noesi. I’m not very optimistic about his chances of panning out as a starter, either, though he does seem present a bit more potential to be above average in the bullpen than does Beavan.

  5. Westside guy on June 5th, 2012 10:32 pm

    Maybe Saunders can take his spot in the rotation.

    Nah, Saunders doesn’t have a good enough arm.

    Ichiro, however…

  6. Dave on June 5th, 2012 10:35 pm

    Iwakuma is a guy who is running a 55% GB rate and a 2/1 K/BB ratio. He’s Jake Westbrook with a tan. That might not be the sexiest thing ever, but it’s a fairly valuable piece. That he’s been wasted in long relief because he gave up too many hits in spring training is a joke.

    As for Noesi, there’s untapped potential there. If they can get his breaking ball to improve enough to be even an average pitch, he’s got enough with his FB/CH already to be a decent back-end starter. Not sure he’s one of the top five starters in the organization right now, but in a rebuilding year, you can justify giving him starts for now.

  7. IdahoInvader on June 5th, 2012 10:35 pm

    Iwakuma looked so much better than Beavan that it was like the difference between Olivo and Jaso vs Rh pitching.

    This is not an organization I feel confident will do the right thing any time soon. Why anyone would EVER throw Trumbo something in the middle of the plate, knowing he has issues w/ chasing garbage, is beyond me.

  8. StatBoy on June 5th, 2012 10:36 pm

    As soon as I saw the box score, I loaded up ussm knowing this post would be waiting for me.

    Love it.

  9. groundzero55 on June 5th, 2012 10:42 pm

    He’s not as bad as Anthony Vasquez, and look how many starts he was given. Wedge will probably let Beavan play out the whole season at that rate.

    I say we call Minnesota and tell them we have their kind of guy at an affordable price.

  10. Westside guy on June 5th, 2012 10:48 pm

    Well, thing is – I suspect tonight the team made it easier for Wedge to keep running Beavan out there. Wedge probably won’t talk about Beavan much… he’ll talk about the guys not getting it done on offense.

    Which is true; but really beside the point with regards to Beavan’s performance as a starter.

  11. Slats on June 5th, 2012 11:03 pm

    Beaven should be sent down and Ramirez called up.

  12. samregens on June 5th, 2012 11:10 pm

    I think it’s time for Wedge to go.

    His irrational likes and dislikes (or whatever his reasons for making the lousy choices) are starting to seriously hurt the team.

  13. Choo on June 5th, 2012 11:18 pm

    It could have been so much worse. I can’t remember the last time a major league pitcher threw that many straight fastballs down the heart of the plate. I was surprised the Angels didn’t completely blow him out of the water during the first couple of innings.

    Whatever the plan for Beavan going forward, priority #1 should involve creating better movement/deception with his fastball. A new 2-seam grip, drop the arm slot, work on the cutter, whatever. The difference in movement between his 4- and 2-seamer doesn’t look bad on paper (pitch/fx), but the deception and life just isn’t there.

    And maybe that’s because of priority #2, his slider which, for as much as he throws it, is barely more than a show-me pitch that he buries in the dirt when ahead in the count. The fastball is all a hitter needs to look for.

  14. GLS on June 5th, 2012 11:20 pm

    No argument with the results or the conclusion that he should be sent down. I wouldn’t write him off completely though. Another year in AAA with the right pitching coach could turn it around.

  15. Dave on June 5th, 2012 11:26 pm

    Turn what around? He doesn’t have big league stuff. This isn’t a case of a kid with talent coming up and just being overwhelmed in his first trip through the big leagues. This is a guy who just doesn’t have the physical tools necessary to succeed as a big league starting pitcher.

  16. nwade on June 5th, 2012 11:47 pm

    Last year I tolerated Beavan & Furbush starting because it seemed like we had gaps in the roster to fill with a live body. But I fully expected both to be back down in AAA in 2012. NEITHER did anything of any sort in any way that would give the organization a reason to keep them up at the Big-League level. And every time they started I just assumed we were spotting the opponent 4 to 6 runs by default. Why Beavan remains is just baffling to me – he inspires absolutely ZERO confidence…

  17. dragonboats on June 6th, 2012 12:59 am

    If only we had a pitcher who has won Japanese MVP and Japanese “Cy Young” awards, and perhaps with Olympic and World Baseball Classic (Gold Medal) experience. …oh wait… we do.

  18. Typical Idiot Fan on June 6th, 2012 1:02 am

    This is a guy who just doesn’t have the physical tools necessary to succeed as a big league starting pitcher.

    I’m no Beavan fan either, but this is simply not true, Dave. Beavan’s problem is he has no out pitch. That’s not a physical limitation so much as a knowledge one. He throws hard enough for a right hander on his fastball and has the mechanical workings well enough to repeatedly put the ball in the zone. What he needs is something else he can go to for missed bats or ground balls. With his control, if he developed a good sinker, he could at least try to go the Chien-Ming Wang route.

    But obviously if he is going to learn something like that, it shouldn’t be at the major league level, so your overall point still stands. I think he has the physical talents, just not the skills. Skills can be added.

  19. terryoftacoma on June 6th, 2012 1:18 am

    I’m not sure this is a big deal on a team that will, maybe, reach .500. He’s basically holding down a spot until the kids are ready. Then he’s either in the pen or gone. Swapping him and Iwakuma might be interesting but hardly earth shaking.

  20. justinh on June 6th, 2012 1:22 am

    Erasmo can get up to 96MPH and has better secondary pitches than Beaven. I would put Erasmo in the rotation right now, as I’ve been clamoring for since Spring Training. Then, you send Beaven down and see if he can increase his velocity in a middle relief roll. I’ve always thought he just doesn’t seem like a major league starter because his lack of off speed pitches and he doesn’t have any movement.

  21. GLS on June 6th, 2012 1:59 am

    Beavan has velocity in the low-90’s, which is more than adequate for a right-handed starter in the lower half of the rotation. The problem is that he lacks adequate secondary pitches for a big league pitcher. I’m not sure what point would be served by putting him in the bullpen. If he’s going to succeed, he needs to develop more. As Choo said, he needs to create more movement and deception on his fastball and he needs to improve his slider. If he gets those things done, along with some sort of third pitch (maybe a splitter?), he could have a future as a major league pitcher, either in the pen or the rotation.

    I could see moving him to the pen if it resulted in a velocity jump, which has been known to happen. Obviously, you would have to move him there first to test that out. But without that increase in velocity, I’m just not sure what the point would be.

  22. justinh on June 6th, 2012 2:19 am

    GLS, I completely agree with you. If he can add velo by only throwing 1-2 innings, may as well check it out. I think Beaven just lacks deception and movement for a guy with very little in the way of secondary stuff. He is still very young, but he isn’t getting better. Hope he figures a couple things out.

  23. ivan on June 6th, 2012 6:42 am

    Yeah, right. Beavan’s not a starting pitcher. Jesus Montero can’t catch, either. Oh, wait.

    Beavan is 23 years old, and he’s two years ahead of where Doug Fister was at 23. At the very least, he’s rotation filler till the three AA saviors get here.

  24. Mariners35 on June 6th, 2012 7:14 am

    Beavan is 23 years old, and he’s two years ahead of where Doug Fister was at 23. At the very least, he’s rotation filler till the three AA saviors get here.

    The Mariners have lots of rotation filler, there’s no reason to have a long leash for almost anyone.

    Let Beavan be rotation filler in Tacoma and figure things out there. I haven’t looked too closely at how the Rainiers are doing this year, but I’m guessing their rotation would benefit more from him – might even be an upgrade – than the M’s get from him now.

    Beavan down, Wells back up with a fruit basket and an apology card.

  25. bookbook on June 6th, 2012 7:19 am

    So we agree with Wedge on broader strategy (short term wins don’t matter) but disagree pretty strongly on the implications of who you play and when ( Olivo over Jaso, Figgins over Wells, Beaven over Iwakuma or Erasmo, Etc.)

  26. ChrisHatch52 on June 6th, 2012 7:27 am

    Dave, do you think the drastic change in Saunders play is sustainable. It seems as though he has changed his approach quite a bit, letting his bat hit the ball where it has been pitched, where even as recent as last year he was whiffing on inside pitches more than likely trying to pull, and flailing at anything on the outside corner again trying to pull. Do you happen to see the same things as I do? I have been trumpeting Saunders name for a while now, and dammit he’s making me look smart. Also, do you think Ackley is just maturing through some growing pains, or is his performance starting to concern you as everyone pretty much assigned him a .300 avg. from the get go, and he is performing clearly worse than that, also do you see his strikeouts becoming an issue? Thanks as always, this site is just so damn informative.

  27. thurston24 on June 6th, 2012 7:32 am

    I would like to see Hultzen up to replace Beavan, we drafted him because he was close to MLB ready and it sounds like he has nothing more to prove at AA. He needs to be promoted, so why not just bring him up to the big league club.

  28. nwade on June 6th, 2012 7:33 am

    bookbook – The whole point of not caring about short term wins is so that you can give playing time to players who will be on the roster in the future and make this team good. Some of the players that Wedge is favoring (such as Olivo) are not going to be on the roster in the future. Others may be part of the future, but Wedge is putting them on the field in situations where they are primed for failure (i.e. bad platoon splits) – this hurts the player’s confidence and makes the player look bad to Wedge; so then he may make a bad judgement about the player’s ability and not play them as much (or in the right situations) in the future.

    ivan and others: Yes, Dave was perhaps overly harsh in writing Beavan off completely (he does tend towards hyperbole sometimes) – but there’s no arguing with the point that *TODAY* Beavan is not an effective Major League starter. We have players on this team and in the high minors who are arguably much better *TODAY*.

    Plus, the comparison to Montero’s situation is completely invalid. “Montero can’t catch” was a rumor / scouting-report. Evidence from Montero’s actual playing time shows that he’s not that bad. Evidence from Beavan’s actual playing time shows that he’s not that good!

    Beavan is best served by getting time to develop new skills or try his hand somewhere else.

  29. DarkKnight1680 on June 6th, 2012 8:29 am

    What I want to know is, which Texas Minor League coach ruined Beaven? This is a kid who could throw 96 consistently as a high schooler. He hasn’t been injured. But supposedly they “cleaned up his mechanics” and now he throws it 90-91 consistently. Throwing the ball over the plate is a lot more effective at 95-97 than it is at 89-91.

    Maybe he needs to go to Tacoma and be told to go back to how he threw it in HS.

  30. ivan on June 6th, 2012 9:04 am

    “Plus, the comparison to Montero’s situation is completely invalid. “Montero can’t catch” was a rumor / scouting-report. Evidence from Montero’s actual playing time shows that he’s not that bad. Evidence from Beavan’s actual playing time shows that he’s not that good! ”

    I respect your opinion, I see things differently. The comparison *might* be valid as an exercise in blog groupthink and herd mentality, which I am beginning to see with annoyingly more frequency around here.

    Before and right after Montero was traded here, you couldn’t count on the hands of one finger any blogger who thought Jesus could catch at an acceptable level. They had all made up their minds — and didn’t hesitate to speak them authoritatively — about a 22-year-old who hadn’t played a full season yet. And they were wrong. Every bloody one of them was wrong.

    I’m not saying Dave is wrong about Beavan, because he might well be right. If we judge solely by last night — most of which I missed because I was watching the Sounders — the outlook is not bright, to be sure.

    But let’s look at what we have here. We have a 23-year-old pitcher in his first full season who is 6-7, 240, and is reported to have thrown 97-98 in high school. If these reports were accurate, it appears that he has sacrificed MPH for mechanics and control.

    I want to know if there’s a way to get those MPH back, or if that was a myth. I want to know if, at age 23, it’s out of the question that he he could develop a better breaking ball — like Fister did. Certainly there’s potential for him to benefit from better location.

    I try to know what I don’t know. Ramirez might be AL-ready, but I doubt that the Jackson Three are for this season. Millwood might have value to other teams; right now Beavan has more value to the M’s — IMHO — than he does to anyone else, and they might as well see if there’s any potential to unlock. It’s way too soon to pull the plug on him. There are never enough pitchers.

  31. samregens on June 6th, 2012 9:46 am

    Whatever Beavan’s problem is, I’d prefer he’d figure it out somewhere less prominent than as a member of the starting rotation.

    He seems to give us the most probability of losing every 5 days, and the M’s have other pitchers who could most likely do better.

    Like Dave says, shift Beavan to the bullpen, maybe he gets some of those elusive miles back and takes off.

    Free Iwakuma.

  32. Dobbs on June 6th, 2012 9:52 am

    So ivan, you’re suggesting Beaven add 7 MPH and a better off-speed pitch?

    While it’s not out of the realm of possibility, I believe this is exactly what would make every AAA pitcher successful in the big leagues.

    Wish-casting is pretty useless and with the way the Mariners have scored runs, it appears we’d have benefited greatly from better pitching at this point.

    Finding talent in Iwakuma may not have long-term benefits with him on our staff, but if he proves to have value, a trade may benefit us long-term with a prospect.

  33. casey on June 6th, 2012 9:57 am

    after having seen Sale (23)on the weekend and last night Richards (24) and with Hultzen having nothing left to prove in Jackson – I say bring him on. Want to see what this rotation is going to look like going forward.

  34. GripS on June 6th, 2012 10:11 am

    But what are the chances Beaven will actually be demoted? I’m betting we are going to be forced to see more of him.

  35. Dave on June 6th, 2012 10:27 am

    Uhh, you realize Jesus Montero *is* a really awful defensive catcher, right? That the Mariners just drafted Mike Zunino in part because they’ve also been convinced that Montero’s a 1B/DH long term?

  36. DarkKnight1680 on June 6th, 2012 10:39 am

    Montero may be awful…but so is Olivo. So was Rob Johnson. The Mariners seem to have a great tolerance for terrible play at the Catcher position.

    That said, Zunino’s defence seems to rate somewhere between MLB Average and Plus, and I think his bat is underrated. If he moves quickly through the system, then Montero is likely the DH and part-time catcher which I think we can all live with.

  37. loveMeSomeStats on June 6th, 2012 11:33 am

    the Mariners just drafted Mike Zunino in part because they’ve also been convinced

    Drafting out of need goes against everything the front office says they believe in. It goes against all their public statements. Do you really believe this to be true?

    Not to disagree with anything else written here, but this strikes me as an phony argument.

  38. Badbadger on June 6th, 2012 12:19 pm

    I think it’s definitely a mistake to use need as a sole draft criteria, but that doesn’t mean you ignore it completely. Drafting is always something of a crapshoot, and if two players are at pretty much the same level of talent there’s no reason not to take the one who fills a need for you.

  39. B13a on June 6th, 2012 1:06 pm

    Thank you, Dave. Beavan has weak secondary pitches, doesn’t induce weak contact, and…what the hell are people defending here? That he’ll turn into Fister?

    Fister has always had a higher strikeout rate, a higher GB rate, and has always had at least a decent set of secondary pitches…and some this is true even before he turned the corner. It’s easy to say that all Beavan has to do is add a better breaking ball or try to regain his velocity, but he’s been pitching this way for years now. His average FB velocity has increased, but to expect it jump to up 2-3 MPH more is asking for a lot. That can be achieved…if Beavan goes to the bullpen, and even that’s not a guarantee.

    These things are not impossible, though. However, right now, Beavan has no room in the starting rotation. Put in Iwakuma and send Beavan to the minors please. At this rate, there’s not harm in doing that.

    And as for the drafting issue…I agree with the comment above.

  40. Typical Idiot Fan on June 6th, 2012 1:17 pm

    Drafting out of need goes against everything the front office says they believe in. It goes against all their public statements. Do you really believe this to be true?

    Jason Churchill answered this concern already during his chats with the 710’s talk shows yesterday. His basic argument was that after Buxton and Correa, who were the two most high upside guys (and Giolito’s elbow issue making him a risk), the dropoff in upside was such that it really didn’t matter anymore if you were taking someone for need, because all those next six or so talents were the best players available. Thus, all things being equal, go ahead and take someone you need. It is only when you have a better option, but draft for need, that you get in trouble. In this case, though, Gausman, Zimmer, Almora, Appel, Fried, etc… none of these guys were so incredibly better than Zunino that it would have made sense to take them instead.

  41. GLS on June 6th, 2012 2:16 pm

    I don’t think it’s a given that Montero is ridiculously bad as a catcher. Is he worse than Olivo, for instance?

  42. Dave on June 6th, 2012 2:26 pm

    At the things that we can measure, yes.

    Montero has thrown out 16% of attempted base stealers – league average is 27%.

    Montero has been charged with four passed balls in 196 IP, or an average of one every 49 innings. The league average is one every 105 innings.

    There have been eight wild pitches thrown while Montero was catching, for an average of one every 25 innings. The league average is one every 30 innings.

    Whether or not these things matter as much as people in baseball think is up for debate. Whether or not Jesus Montero is good at the things that generally earn the label of a good defensive catcher is not. He’s awful at throwing runners out and bad at blocking pitches in the dirt. Maybe you think that doesn’t matter, and maybe it doesn’t, but he is terrible at those things.

  43. GLS on June 6th, 2012 2:44 pm

    Dave, I have to say you’re pretty good when it comes to facts. I guess when it comes down to it, Montero’s position is “hitter” and so he may end up as a career DH/1B and occasional backup catcher. As I understand it, he lacks mobility to such an extreme that there’s no chance he could occupy a corner outfield spot.

    Montero needs to become an elite hitter. I think that’s what it comes down to. If he’s just “good” or “very good”, he’ll still have a career, but his value will be limited.

  44. stevemotivateir on June 6th, 2012 3:13 pm

    I like Montero, but as a catcher… seeing him attempt to throw-out runners has been every bit as ugly as watching Olivo trying to block balls. I’d rather see Montero catch than Olivo, but Jaso has been the most impressive. A future platoon of Jaso and Zunino interests me much more than one with Montero and Zunino.

  45. Westside guy on June 6th, 2012 3:45 pm

    I don’t mind seeing Montero behind the dish – but maybe I’m just inured to bad catching at this point. I know he’s not good back there… but even if he was a decent defensive catcher – given his supposed ceiling as a hitter, it would just make sense to have another guy serve as primary catcher, with Montero DHing more of the time and getting 1-2 days a week behind the plate. Catching is wearing.

    I look forward to seeing Jaso as our primary catcher, with Montero serving as backup and DH (and Olivo gone, obviously). When Zunio comes through the org, I think he’d slip into the primary role, and Jaso would possibly go elsewhere.

  46. Johnny Slick on June 6th, 2012 3:45 pm

    I’m not sure how the topic went to Montero. I do agree that he’s not a great catcher, and although I don’t think that it really matters all that much, I also think that’s probably going to lead the team to do with him what the Blue Jays did with Carlos Delgado, both to prevent injury and to get a more defense-minded guy. Anyway, whether that’s the case or not, if Zunino’s the guy the M’s wanted, he’s the guy the M’s wanted and it’s not necessarily drafting for need. If Montero *does* end up looking like a guy the team can put behind the plate 120 games a year, they can trade Zunino for another part. It’s really not a big deal.

    With Blake Beavan, not only is Dave right but it’s so freaking obvious that he’s right I’m a little amazed that there are people arguing the other way. I mean, comparing him to Doug Fister? Not only was Fister as noted significantly better than Beavan at the same age, it’s not like the Doug Fister path to major league decency is one that is commonly traveled. I mean, you may as well be arguing that Carlos Peguero will learn plate discipline and become a major league hitter because hey, that’s what Dewey Evans did.

    This idea that “all he needs to develop is an out pitch” is if anything even *more* laughable. Really, people? Really? I mean, if you look at it that way, all 90% of the pitchers who aren’t really good enough to play in the major leagues need to become good enough is an out pitch. Lots and lots of right handers can throw in the low 90s. A very small percentage of them can throw with enough movement to fool major league hitters. If they could, baseball would be shaped a lot differently than it is now.

    Hey, I like the idea of a guy succeeding like a Bob Tewksbury or a John Halama as much as anyone else. That being said, I think Halama might be around Beavan’s 90th percentile in upside at this point. Sending Beavan down to AAA, having him concentrate on getting one pitch major-league ready, and bringing him back as a long man seems to me to be the best thing the team can do to turn him into something useful.

  47. mca on June 6th, 2012 6:15 pm

    Is there any chance we can see Iwakuma, Ramirez, AND Hutltzen start some games this year? I would like that. For now replacing Beavan with one of them would be nice.

  48. Liam on June 6th, 2012 8:52 pm

    This post got some airtime on Bob and Groz today.

    Starting at 12:05

    In Summary: Dave is a Titan, but Groz gave him his big break.

  49. smb on June 8th, 2012 12:48 pm

    The idea that we are running out a starter that’s actually worse than Noesi is down right depressing to me. I’ll be giddy if I never have to see Beavan or Noesi start another game after this year. I wish we could’ve gotten Nova with Montero instead.

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