The Cubs called up LHP Jeff Beliveau to help fortify their bullpen today, according to Carrie Muskat. Beliveau is considered to be the Cubs best left-handed relief prospect.
What should we expect from him?
If you were to just look at Beliveau's minor league numbers, you'd think he had an overpowering mid 90s fastball, but that's not the case at all. Beliveau's velocity is normally around 89-91 but he is a great study in how a deceptive delivery can compensate for a fringe average fastball.
A prominent member of the scouting once told me to look beyond velocity. The player's reactions will tell you how quickly they are picking up the ball. If they're swinging through a lot of fastballs, that often indicates a lot of deception.
This is exactly the case with Beliveau. He hides the ball well and hitters just don't pick up on it, so you'll see some unusually late swings. Adding to the deception is a very good change-up which he throws with good arm action. He also throws a curve.
He's not going to normally give up a lot of hits, although he has this season. The BABIP against him this year is an unusually high .361, so it may well be that the combination of pitching in a hitter's league along with some bad luck has played a factor in his 4.05 ERA so far this season. A telling statistic is that his FIP is virtually the same (3.10) as it was last season (3.11) when he had a more sparkling 1.89 ERA in AA Tennessee.
We can expect Beliveau to eventually settle in with an ERA in that 3 range, but the key for him is control. One major change other than the increase in BABIP from last season is a walk rate that is almost double what it was at the AA level. He's walking 3.83 batters per 9 innings this year as opposed to 2.05 last year for the Smokies. If he can keep that walk rate around 3.oo/9 IP, the Cubs should have themselves a pretty solid lefty reliever to team with James Russell, who obviously could use some help.
Rafael Dolis was optioned to AAA.
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