Cubs call up Jeff Beliveau, option Rafael Dolis

Cubs call up Jeff Beliveau, option Rafael Dolis

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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  • Very excited to see beliveau up, been wanting to see this deceptive delivery I have heard so much about, lets hope he can throw strikes. it would certainly be really nice if he can become a contributor for a few years

  • In reply to Andrew13:

    Very excited too. I would not be at all surprised if he does better in the majors than he did in AAA.

    Baseball America describes his deception as "it looks like the ball is coming out of his sleeve"

  • There's a part of me that says "finally", but I'm also a little disappointed about Dolis. He seems like he *should* be a good ML reliever, but he just hasn't put it together yet.

    I like the idea of having 3 lefties in the bullpen in Russell, Beliveau, and Maine. They also seem like 3 guys who are different enough in the pitches they throw and their deliveries to give opposing teams different looks.

    Here's hoping that Beliveau gets in the game today so people like me (who only get to see WGN games) can see this sleight of hand you talk about.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    Watch how an 89 mph fastball gets on them and hitters react like it's 95.

  • fb_avatar

    Nice speech by Vicki Santo.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Agreed. Very nice.

  • John
    I see where the Dbacks just signed Sergio Alcantara from the DR. Any relation to our Acantara down at Daytona?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Not that I'm aware of, Toby.

  • Hey John, I was half listening to Len and Bob today when they started talking about some young high school asian pitcher who throws 100 mph. Do you have any idea who they are talking about?

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    I can find out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah the way they were talking about him, it sounded like he could be the next Strausburg. Brenley made the statement, "Let the bidding begin."

  • Beliveau throwing harder than advertised, 92-93 mph.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you think he typically throws that hard or was he just pumped up?

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    He may have been a little pumped up. Didn't hit 93 again in the next inning. Was more 91-92, still a tick better than usual.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Overall...interesting. Good to see him stay composed after that 2nd single. Looked like nobody was seeing the ball well. I like his delivery, just worry about the stress he puts on his shoulder, but he's thrown a lot of innings without injury so far. Love the MPH differential between pitches though.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    Yep, big differential there. I like how he just pauses his delivery for a split second and then just explodes with that arm action. Unique delivery and it works for him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lefty version of Kenley Jansen? All he throws is a fastball though, and it works for him.

  • These are terribly exciting times.
    In another 5 years or so, who knows?

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