Q. How was his slider last year?
A. Average-mediocre, very mushy, pretty good command. It was the only self-defense he had out there.
Here, check his pitch values ... the curve is on there with an OK value, but the change curve was thrown only for show. The curve was thrown less than 10% of the time and the only reason it had an OK value was because there was no pressure on the pitch.
Last year, Beavan had a located fastball and a mushy slider. Here, we'll run his Oct. 3 pitch chart again:
Fastball and slider. He was desperately trying to keep them off his fastball, throwing tons of sliders, but as you know he had limited success. His ERA+ was what, 4.40 in Safeco, this despite exquisite command of his fastball.
They just sat there and timed the fastball.
Q. How was his slider yesterday, March 17th?
A. It was actually quite interesting. :- ) He threw it with a hard wrist snap, and it arrived at just the same velocity as his changeup, but it broke the opposite way. The overall effect was that he had two changeups, one breaking left and one breaking right.
It froze the hitters in changeup-like fashion. It did not act like a normal slider, catching batters fishing off the plate; rather, it locked them up.
We were talking minor league hitters.
The break was different than in 2012. It was tighter-spin, still not Kerry Wood or anything like that, but quite a bit crisper than it used to be.
Q. Why were his changeup and slider locking batters up?
A. The entire lineup was sitting Dead Red, every single pitch, all game long.
FistVan's fastball was quite a bit longer -- he had a high front side, he had a closer plant point, and he had hop on the fastball. Yet they were never behind it, not one time. In fact here you see Jim Adducci just leisurely sit back and KEE-RUSHHH a Beavan fastball as though it were a batting practice pitch.
So what does that mean, when they are comfortable with your fastball, and can't even manage a check swing against all your breaking stuff? You figure it out.
Against real major leaguers, the batters will start defending the offspeed game, and then Beavan's located fastball will be effective.
A. Let's use a 1-10 scale, not the confusing 20-80 scale, for Beavan's stuff.
His pitches in 2012:
- 6-7 = Fastball, considering velo and command
- 3 = Slider
- 1 = Changeup
- 3 = Change curve (can only be used occasionally)
His pitches on March 17, 2013:
- 7 = Fastball, considering command first, also the new high front side and hop
- 6 = Changeup
- 5 = Slider
- 5 = Change curve (can probably be used more routinely)
If that seems like a radical upgrade, that's because it is.