Dallas Beeler started Game One of the Saturday doubleheader for the Cubs, and in typical Cubs fashion, was saddled with the loss despite a line of 6 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 ER. All in all, it was a good start for a 25-year-old making his Major League debut.
He was called up as the 26th roster spot for the doubleheader, and is likely headed right back to AAA until September. But who is this guy? Is he just another marginal player that could be a 5th starter? Maybe a reliever? Let's look at what we know.
Beeler was drafted in the 41st round by the Cubs in the 2010 draft out of Oral Roberts University.
He moved relatively quickly through the organization and spent the 2012 season at AA. He started 2013 at AA and threw well in his 9 starts before having his season ended with the dreaded Tommy John surgery.
Beeler probably would be the 4th starter at AAA this year if we were ranking guys, behind Tsuyoshi Wada, Kyle Hendricks, and Chris Rusin.
Beeler has pretty solid stuff, as we saw on Saturday. It's not overpowering, as his fastball sits around 92 and can ramp up to 94 at best. He has a slurve (which looks more like a normal curveball, in my less-than-expert opinion) that has pretty decent break, a splitter, and a cutter that he's added in the last year.
Once the game started, Twitter exploded with comparisons to Roy Halladay. No, not because he's anywhere near as good as Doc. Mostly because of the throwing motion that Beeler rolls with. Check this out:
Coming into his short call-up to the Cubs, Beeler had started 10 games for the I-Cubs at AAA. His stats were decent, although unspectacular:
10 GS, 4.03 ERA, 60.1 IP, 43 K, 15 BB, 1.17 WHIP, 2.2 BB/9, 6.4 K/9
He doesn't strike out all that many guys, but he does have great control and doesn't walk many either. He reminds me a bit of a guy like Randy Wells, who had two pretty good years for the Cubs in the majors.
During those seasons, Wells had a 2.7 BB/9 and 6.2 K/9 ratio. It's very possible that Beeler follows suit and could eat some innings for the Cubs in the next few seasons.
Based on the information that we have and what we saw today, we know that Beeler isn't ever going to be a top-of-the-rotation talent. But we also know that he could be an effective innings-eater, whether it be as a guy in the back end of the rotation, a spot starter, or a long reliever.
I think his stuff could even play well as a regular reliever in the 6th and 7th innings, with the extra velocity on the fastball and the great control.
Guys like Beeler are kind of a dime a dozen in the minor leagues for most good organizations, but I think that statement bodes well for the Cubs. The fact that they had Beeler on hand to come up and throw 6 innings without an earned run is fantastic. Had it not been him, it could have been Wada, Hendricks, Rusin, or even Eric Jokisch.
Remember 2012, when the Cubs were throwing out guys like Jason Berken and Justin Germano? The days of Rodrigo Lopez and Seth McClung pitching at AAA just because you have no one else are pretty much over. And that's probably the best thing we can take away from Beeler's MLB debut.
The Cubs are finally in a position where they have guys in the minors that can help in a pinch. Remember when Theo Epstein first got here and all the talk was that the organization wasn't ready to compete?
That didn't just mean a lack of guys like Kris Bryant and Javier Baez close to the Major Leagues. It also meant lacking a few Dallas Beeler's too. The Cubs organization is showing signs of becoming healthy.
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