Blake Beavan in the rotation? No thanks
When the Mariners announced their rotation yesterday, four of the names made sense. Felix and Vargas were locks. Hector Noesi was acquired to be a starter, and performed well in spring training. Kevin Millwood was meant to be an innings sponge that helps the Mariners delay starting Hultzen or Paxton’s clocks. So those four all make sense. The one that’s baffling to me is Blake Beavan.
It’s easy to see why Wedge would like Beavan. He’s young, has good poise, and rarely walks batters–he had a ridiculous 1.39 BB/9 last year. It’s everything else that Beavan is lacking in. He doesn’t miss bats–his 3.90 strikeout rate was third worst among starters with over 90 IP last season. His 38.1% groundball rate was below average as well. Beavan’s upside is likely an ok #4 or a good #5 starter.
While that’s serviceable, this is a season where the Mariners likely aren’t going to contend. The Mariners could learn more about what they have by giving that spot to Hisashi Iwakuma or Erasmo Ramirez, who both may have #3-4 starter quality upside. It’s clear that Beavan’s upside is limited. We don’t know if Ramirez or Iwakuma can be better than #5 starters, but at least the possibility is there. Giving Beavan the spot in the rotation isn’t a terrible decision, but both Iwakuma and Ramirez have greater potential. For that reason, I would have rather seen one of them given that spot in the rotation.