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Breakout Season for Jeff Beliveau

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Matt Swain

Illinois engineering student, way too emotionally invested in the Cubs.

When the Cubs tabbed lefty reliever Jeff Beliveau with their 18th round pick in the 2008 draft, it certainly wasn't based on his college stats.

In his junior year at Florida Atlantic, Beliveau was 5-4 with a 4.58 ERA and 78 Ks in 76.2 IP, which are respectable. Amazingly though, he also issued 77 walks.

I'll repeat that for emphasis: in the Sun Belt conference, Jeff Beliveau walked more than a batter per inning. AND got drafted.

To start his pro career it was more of the same, as he doled out 28 BBs in 34.2 IP for Boise. Armed with a low-90's fastball and a true swing-and-miss curveball, it was clear from the beginning that Beliveau's main nemesis would be his lack of command.

And here just two years later, Beliveau has seemingly vanquished it permanently.

Year Age Tm Lev W L ERA IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2008 21 2 Teams A--Rk 2 1 2.80 35.1 1.557 6.6 0.3 7.4 13.2 1.79
2009 22 Peoria A 5 4 3.54 96.2 1.262 7.2 0.5 4.2 10.9 2.60
2010 23 2 Teams A+-A 3 1 2.68 53.2 1.193 6.5 0.8 4.2 13.8 3.28
3 Seasons 10 6 3.15 185.2 1.298 6.9 0.5 4.8 12.2 2.54
 
Over his last 18.2 IP, Beliveau has struck out 35 batters while walking only 6. He's managed this year to maintain his dominace in missing bats while cutting his walks by about 3 per 9 innings over his 2008 season.
 
At 23 he's a little old for his league and is in a pitcher friendly environment, so I do reserve concerns that these stats are misrepresenting his real performance, but there's definitely reason to be cautiously optimistic about his showing this year.
 
Its been a big breakout for Beliveau, who now figures to be a big piece of the Cubs bullpen future. He's still at least a season away, and there's always the possibility that his control problems rear their head again, but for now he's certainly put himself on top of the Cubs relief prospect heap.

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