A Post I Was Going To Write Until It Backfired On Me


I appreciate snark. To various degrees and put more aptly, when it’s done in a way that doesn’t generate a rise out of me. I’m not very good and disguising any type of snark in written form or in real life speak. Normally, if I have something to say and it’s not going to be nice it ends up being either one of two things. A) It comes across a bit whiny or B) it’s blurted out rather bludgeoned. Similar to using the jack in Thief. It just… just… well it didn’t kill anyone but obviously it would come across as a bit crass and if I didn’t get plumbed, I certainly didn’t make friends.

Well, see I enjoy putting together little posts over certain subjects that I had believed and others had said I was “wrong” for thinking.  I don’t mind being wrong but discovering proof that your previous line of thought was correct, gives you too much ammo to sit on. So, at times, I’ve been known to throw something together and come across rather pompous.

Hey it’s my blog and if you think that no one else does that well… that would be a stupid opinion. I’m human and I like proving I’m not entirely stupid. My writing of course does that for me.

Yet, this time it kind of backfired a bit. It started after both Keith and Marqman responded in the comments about Hector Noesi. I basically called him a better more serviceable starter than Blake Beavan, because Beavan basically sucks in my mind. While others keep bringing up Doug Fister and talking about how Beavan might morph into what Fister has become. I’m hesitant to agree and that’s where things go wrong on my end.

Let’s not tiptoe around this. It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Beavan fan and would have rather the Mariners go after a few other starters/relievers that pressumably were on the board at the time of the Cliff LeeJustin Smoak deal. Of course I have no real insider knowledge of that deal and while I can speculate there isn’t a lot of different ways to confirm it so it’s kind of useless.

Presumably that could change if someone like Jack, Tom or Tony ever wanted to return my calls or change their mind in holding a conversation with me sometime this year.  It’s one of the subjects would love to pick their brain about.

Back to Mr.Beavan, who as we’ve talked about has often drawn Doug Fister comparisons for multiple reasons.

1) He’s tall (6’7).  Fister is tall too (6’8).

2) He doesn’t throw hard. This is kind of a misnomer in a way because while both maintain below average velocity for a starting major league pitcher, Beavan actually throws a fastball 1.5 mph faster than that of Fister. That information has been brought to you by Fangraphs.

3) Neither miss many bats with their specific arsenal and their ability to obtain outs is predominately acquired by putting the ball in play.

There are a couple of other things. Both have pretty similar pitch repertoires. Fastball, slider, curve ball and change. Though Beavan’s slider profiles a bit better than what Fister throws, Fisters’ change and curve ball are both light years ahead of where Beavan is right now.

This is all really good information but to me it didn’t really click. There are plenty of other “tall” pitchers who throw similar and started out as a back-of-the-rotation arm and stayed that way (paging Chris Young). There was no data that really came out that really put me on the Blake Beavan train.

Now a bit of history real fast, I was a Doug Fister supporter back in 2009. I saw the games he pitched and while he didn’t have overwhelming results I felt like there was some potential dispite what most people were saying. Games such as the one he threw against the Yankees (Aug 16) and the one against Oakland (Oct 1st) made me think the guy could be a serviceable starter in 2010. This all despite the mediocre stats his first year.

It made me think. What are the differences between Fister his first year and what Beavan this past year.

Doug Fister25645.366.90%2.441.30%5.90%0.2715.104.43
Blake Beavan40549.335.90%2.838.10%9.70%0.2804.464.45

The differences between the two are so small.  Mainly the HR/FB%.

Then I took a closer look at the two game by game. While, I don’t really want to go into all the details surrounding each game result the main piece of data that I found astounding is that while Beavan didn’t have any outstanding stats he did produce 4 different starts with a game score over 60. While that’s not necessarily remarkable, Felix Hernandez produced 16 (out of 33) games better than 60  (48%), we’re talking about someone who is supposed to be just nudge better than serviceable.

Now let’s compare the two pitchers.

Fister throws both a four seam and mixes in a two seamer. I believe this is why we’ve seen the uptick in ground balls over the past two years. This and the fact that his curve and change-up, both, took steps forward in becoming legit offerings and when used correctly they helped him garner better strike out totals and helped him go from being a back-of-the-rotation guy to being more of a #3 middle-of-the-rotation guy.

Beavan, again much the same, throws a four/two seam fastball combo but also adds in a cutter. Oddly enough since the arrival of Beavan from Texas’ farm system we’ve seen his ground ball rates actually diminish. I’m not sure if that’s due to a cut back in how often he’s throwing his two seamer. It’ll be interesting to see with the help of Carl Willis, who is one of those responsible for Fister’s development the last few years, if we might see a similar step forward by Beavan.

I must admit, I’ve been a bit harsh on Beavan and while I don’t hate his repertoire, I don’t like how he uses it. He works too much in the upper half of the zone and often hangs his slider. I think we often over emphasize how bad it is for pitchers to produce poor strike out rates. There are some pitchers who pitch-to-contact and produce poor contact. Sure, they aren’t going to be the types to dominate games and in general they can be unpredictable in a game-by-game nature, but they aren’t bad pitchers. There is a chance that Blake Beavan becomes just that. A non-bad pitcher.

Looking back on 2009, did you really think that you were going to get Casper Wells, Francisco Martinez, Charlie Furbush and Chance Ruffin in return for Doug Fister and a mildly serviceable David Pauley. That’s like trading away Blake Beavan and a Jeff Marquez to the Blue Jays for Chris Hawkins, Matt Dean, Jesse Hernandez and John Stilson. While that’s not like an identical guy-for-guy trade comparison of the Tigers trade, you get the jist of the idea.

Obviously getting two years of average production and then receiving solid value in return for Beavan at this point is not something that we can see in the cards but that’s what happened with Fister with the help of several people still within the organization that can help Beavan, a pitcher with similar traits. I’ve been down on Beavan in general but overall I’m alright with giving him a chance to battle both Noesi and Millwood for one of the last two spots in the rotation.

Anyways… I see more clearly where Maqman and Keith have been coming from with their thoughts on Beavan.