Starting pitcher Blake Beavan made his major league debut last night. Saying his debut was “much anticipated” or any other superlative would be a case of major hyperbole. In all honesty, Beavan’s call up from Tacoma was met with something between a yawn and a sigh.
The thing is, Beavan pitched extremely well. His stat line from last night looks like 7 innings, just 3 hits, one ER, with 4 strikeouts and 2 walks. Overall it was quite impressive. He threw just 90 pitches and easily could have come back out in the 8th if the team had needed him to. Also impressive is that 9 of his 90 pitches, a perfect 10%, generated swinging strikes.
Pretty impressive. But before we all start clamoring for the M’s to trade away and established pitcher for a much needed bat, with the idea being that Beavan can simply replace whoever is traded, we need to take a step back and look at what we really have here. First, we need to remember that this start was against the San Diego Padres; the only team that is worse than the Mariners in almost every offensive statistic, so it’s not like Beavan was pitching against the Red Sox or anything.
Second, the Padres batting average on balls in play, BABIP, was a ridiculously low .150 for the game. That simply isn’t sustainable. Just for reference, the best Mariners starter in terms of BABIP is Michael Pineda‘s .245; nearly 100 points higher. Beavan’s xFIP, a predictor of future FIP performance based his peripheral stats, was a very pedestrian 4.42.
I don’t mean to be too much of a downer here. Beavan came up and filled in well for the injured Erik Bedard. I thought he pitched a great game, I just don’t believe he’s a long term answer in the Mariner’s starting rotation. Then again, I thought the same thing about Doug Fister, and all he’s done is consistently improve and become a tremendous asset.