Two Peas in an Anti-Run Prevention Pod

Riley wrote on Sunday that Blake Beavan is not a major league pitcher right now. I think he’s right. Pollster, Bryant Bartlett, polled you and 74% of you voted to either send him to the pen or to Tacoma. I think some of you are right. I’m going to add in that I’m not really feeling Hector the run collector either. To the numbers!

Name ERA K% BB% GB% Zone% Zone Contact
Blake Beavan

5.92

10.80%

4.00%

34.80%

58.30%

88.70%

Hector Noesi

5.99

14.20%

8.90%

36.90%

52.40%

86.00%

Lg Avg Lower

19.50%

8.20%

Higher

49.30%

87.20%

 

Their ERAs are bad. But ERAs will occasionally deceive, as the James Shields of 2010 will tell you. It’s everything to the right of ERA that has me concerned for these two.

I think we knew that Beavan was not going to strike many people out. For the Rangers AA affiliate, Beavan struck out just 102 of 822 batters: 12.4%. So we held out hope that his low walk rates would save him. After all, Safeco plays well for low-walk, contact pitchers…like Jarrod Washburn!

Only, Beavan lacks some key ingredients. First of all, he’s right-handed, so Safeco can’t hide his natural weakness against lefties. Additionally, his strikeout percentage isn’t anywhere close to Washburn’s, which wasn’t anywhere close to the league average. That sounds like a GRE problem that ends with “Blake has the lowest strikeout rate of anyone in the world,” or something like that. (In fact, it’s the 4th worst in the entire league)

Beavan’s strikeout and walk rates compare better to those of one Chien-Ming Wang circa 2007. But in that comparison, Beavan lacks the ungodly lawn-mowing skills that propelled Wang to a virtually non-existent homerun rate. It’s true that Safeco helps flyballers like Beavan to some degree, but Beavan has to be able to help Safeco a little bit, too,  and strike someone out every once in a while.

But here’s the big problem: Beavan has never shown an ability to strike people out, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Why? Because I think he’d pretty much have to do one of two things. Stop throwing so many strikes (Zone%) to get more guys to chase, or start missing more bats in the strike zone. But throwing less strikes would likely up his walk rate, which is really the only thing he has going for him now, and missing bats in the strike zone requires “stuff” that Beavan just doesn’t have.

The bullpen is not the best place for low-strikeout guys. Anyone worth having in the pen needs to be able to put out fires. And low-strikeout flyballers put out fires like gasoline puts out fires. He needs a new pitch or something to miss bats, and he needs to figure that out in AAA.

On to Neosi. Remember this article was about two people? Noesi is a mess. He has many of the same problems that Beavan does, but with a worse K/BB ratio. He can’t miss bats, but still throws too many hittable pitches. Without repeating everything I said for Beavan, it’s a real catch 22 for these guys. Throw more outside the zone, and you walk too many guys. Stay in the zone, and keep watching balls fly over the wall. Noesi and Beavan have the fifth and ninth worst HR rates allowed in the league, respectively.

This isn’t a matter of “working through some kinks” in my mind. These guys need new stuff. I don’t have a clue what they need, or how to teach it to them, but the stats are pretty clear. What they have won’t cut up here in the show.

I’ll leave you with my three (pretty obvious) suggestions for replacing the afore-mentioned strugglers: Erasmo Ramirez, Charlie Furbush, and Hisashi Iwakuma.

Next Mariners Game View full schedule »

Tags: Blake Beavan Charlie Furbush Erasmo Ramirez Hector Noesi Hisashi Iwakuma

comments powered by Disqus