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Tag:Blake Beavan
Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:22 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 2:35 pm
 

Spring primer: Seattle Mariners


By Matt Snyder


The Mariners are coming off a 67-95 season, when they finished 29 games out in the AL West -- seven behind the third-place A's. It was the sixth time in the past eight years Seattle came in last and they haven't seen the postseason since 2001. One big trade headlined the offseason as they attempt to turn the tide.

Scott Miller's Camp Report: With Jesus, Seattle seeks resurrection | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: C/DH Jesus Montero, RHP Kevin Millwood, C John Jaso, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
Major departures: RHP Michael Pineda, UT Adam Kennedy

Probable lineup
1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Dustin Ackley, 2B
3. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
4. Justin Smoak, 1B
5. Jesus Montero, DH
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Olivo, C
9. Brendan Ryan, SS

Probable rotation
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Jason Vargas
3. Hisashi Iwakuma
4. Kevin Millwood
5. Hector Noesi

Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush are also in the mix.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Brandon League
Set-up: RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP George Sherrill

Important bench players
C John Jaso, IF Kyle Seager, OF Casper Wells, OF Trayvon Robinson

Prospect to watch
With the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Mariners pegged left-handed starting pitcher Danny Hultzen from the University of Virginia. It's likely his presence -- in addition to Furbush, Beaven and prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton -- made it easier to deal Pineda for some offensive help. Hultzen appeared in the top 30 overall in most prospect rankings this spring and is said to be close to big-league ready. The M's likely don't have a reason to rush him, but if he's ready come June or July, it wouldn't be surprising to see him make an impact this season.

Fantasy sleeper: Kyle Seager
"Seager isn't much of a home-run threat, and playing home games at Safeco Field won't help matters, but his gap power and keen batting eye could help him to an average in the .290 to .300 range, if not higher. Owners may look at last season's .258 mark, his lack of prospect hype and his place in a less-than-imposing Mariners lineup and discount him. However, Seager's ability to get on base and rack up doubles makes him worth a late-round flier in mixed league formats." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]

Fantasy "head-to-head hero:" Dustin Ackley
"Ackley's in-the-park extra-base hits will make him one of the seven or eight best second basemen in Head-to-Head, but the potential for mediocre homer and run production makes him a later-round option for mixed league Roto owners." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Ackley and Montero become stars, Figgins returns to form, a finally-healthy Gutierrez returns to form as well and Ichiro thrives in the 3-hole, finally giving the Mariners a viable offense. Iwakuma adjusts to America impressively while Hultzen storms onto the scene in early June to provide an additional pitching boost. The Rangers and Angels suffer major injury and underachievement issues, and the Mariners shock everyone by winning the AL West.

Pessimistic outlook
Heading into this season, expect the Mariners to be picked third by pretty much everyone. Thus, the pessimistic outlook would be that the Mariners find a way to finish below the A's. If the offense sputters, younger players stall in their development and the rotation behind King Felix proves thin -- which is possible -- that last place finish could repeat.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:09 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:00 pm
 

Spring position battles: American League West



By C. Trent Rosecrans

There's nothing like the Super Bowl to remind you that spring training is just around the corner. And with pitchers and catchers packing up their bags for Florida and Arizona, we here at Eye on Baseball will look at some of the key positional battles on tap for this spring, starting with the American League West.

Los Angeles Angels
Designated hitter: Mark Trumbo vs. Kendrys Morales vs. Bobby Abreu vs. Vernon Wells

At the end of the 2011 season, it seemed first base could be a battle for the Angels heading into 2012. That position was settled pretty easily with $240 million. The two previous candidates, Trumbo and Morales are now with BAbreu looking for playing time at DH. Add the wild card of Mike Trout possibly pushing either Torii Hunter or Wells into the DH competition and the team has a lot of players for one spot. Sure, the Angels are saying Trumbo can play third, but he's still not all the way back from an ankle injury and he hasn't proven he can handle the day-in, day-out rigors of third base (look at what it did to Kevin Youkilis last season). There's also the chance that Morales won't be healthy. There are so many variables to the Angles lineup that the only thing that seems certain at this point is that Albert Pujols will be at first base, batting third.

Oakland Athletics
Closer: Grant Balfour vs. Brian Fuentes vs.  Fautino De Los Santos vs. Joey Devine

One of the many players Billy Beane got rid of this offseason was closer Andrew Bailey, who went to the Red Sox for three players, leaving an opening at closer for 2012. Fuentes recorded 12 saves in Bailey's spot last season, while Balfour picked up two as well. Those two veterans should be seen as the favorites, but De Los Santos and Devine could surprise. De Los Santos struck out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings last season, while Devine impressed in his first action since Tommy John surgery. Even if the two youngsters don't get the call after spring training, either are just one trade away from getting their shot -- and with the A's current situation, nobody in Oakland should be buying, just renting.

Seattle Mariners
No. 3-5 starters: Blake Beavan vs. Charlie Furbush vs. Hector Noesi vs. Kevin Millwood vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

Felix Hernandez, of course, is the Mariners' No. 1 starter and Jason Vargas figures to be the other Mariner to start in the team's two-game series in Japan. After that, it gets interesting. Seattle signed Iwakuma to a $1.5 million contract in the offseason, so he figures to be in the rotation somewhere. Noesi was acquired along with Jesus Montero in the Michael Pineada trade and should be somehwere in the mix, as well. That leaves the youngsters Furbush (25) and Beavan (23), to go against the veteran Millwood (37). Furbush and Beavan showed flashes during 2011, but are hardly proven products. After stints in the minors for the Red Sox and Yankees, Millwood went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA in Colorado and should benefit from pitching at Safeco Field.

Texas Rangers
5th starter: Matt Harrison vs. Alexi Ogando vs. Scott Feldman

Unless the Rangers do sign Roy Oswalt, it appears the first four spots in the Texas rotation are set with Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz, leaving three pitchers battling for the final spot. Last season the Rangers moved Ogando from the bullpen to the rotation with some success. They're looking to do the same with Feliz this season and possibly sending Ogando back to the bullpen. Ogando was 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA, but seemed to tire down the stretch. Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA last season, but still has to battle for his job. And then there's Feldman, who is a long-shot here, but is used to the yo-yoing from the bullpen to the rotation. If the team does sign Oswalt, the three could be stretched out in spring, but return to the bullpen once the season starts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Texas Rangers

Mark Teixeira

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Rangers are in an interesting position in the franchise's history -- no longer a middle-of-the-road team, the Rangers have turned themselves into one of the game's biggest players. The team has reached the last two World Series with a mixture of homegrown players (Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando), savvy trades (sending Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for a haul that included Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, plus the deal with the Reds getting Josh Hamilton) and big-ticket free-agents (Adrian Beltre). It's tough to argue with the results, as the Rangers have positioned themselves into becoming one of the top teams in baseball and don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Lineup

1. Ian Kinsler, SS
2. Craig Gentry, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Edwin Encarnacion, 2B
7. Laynce Nix, RF
8. John Mayberry, LF
9. Taylor Teagarden, C

Starting Rotation

1. C.J. Wilson
2. John Danks
3. Derek Holland
4. Colby Lewis
5. Ryan Dempster

Bullpen

Closer - Joaquin Benoit
Set up - Darren Oliver, Nick Masset, Scott Feldman, Jesse Chavez, Yoshinori Tateyama
Long - Tommy Hunter

Notable Bench Players

Ivan Rodriguez will be in discussion for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, but he's now a backup catcher and could be a good one. You have a pair of first baseen in Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland who aren't going to strike fear into too many pitchers, as well as two outfielders probably better defensively or as pinch runners in Jason Bourgeois and Scott Podsednik.

What's Good?

The rotation is deep -- in addition to the five listed, you could also throw in R.A. Dickey, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez. And while there's no real shut-down closer, there are some very good bullpen arms, and the list above doesn't include Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Danny Herrera.

What's Not?

Besides Kinsler and Teixeira, the lineup is suspect. And the defense is worse. The outfield is kind of a hodgepodge, while the infield is a disaster with only Carlos Pena playing in his usual position. While Teixeira hasn't played third base since his rookie year in 2003, Kinsler has never played shortstop, nor has Encarnacion ever played second base -- but there just wasn't a whole lot of options. The outfield doesn't have the likes of Hamilton or Nelson Cruz to help out, either.

Comparison to real 2011

Would this team wind up in World Series? Not bloody likely. The pitching is fine and even maybe an slight upgrade to the team that won the American League pennant again in 2011, but that lineup is demonstratively worse. The Rangers were third in baseball in runs and second in OPS, and without Hamilton, Cruz, Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Beltre, this squad isn't going to do anything close to that. Teixeira is a good player -- and Pena could put up big homer numbers in that ballpark -- but those losses from the real squad are just too much to overcome. This team is maybe a .500 squad, at best, and that's only because of the depth in the pitching staff.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 23, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 4:58 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Seattle Mariners

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Seattle Mariners
Record: 66-90, 24 games back in AL West
Manager: Eric Wedge
Best hitter: Dustin Ackley -- .283/.359/.431, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 37 R, 14 2B, 6 SB
Best pitcher: Felix Hernandez -- 14-13, 3.32 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, 220 K, 230 1/3 IP

The Mariners aren't going to lose 100 games, so there's that. The team has done that in two of the last four seasons, so at least that's not going to happen in 2011. But for a team that was in contention through the first three months of the season, 2011 will be a disappointment, regardless of the final tally.

2011 SEASON RECAP

No matter what else happened in 2011, the Mariners' season will be most remembered for a 17-game losing streak in July, sandwiched around the All-Star break. The Mariners were at .500, 43-43 and just 2.5 games out of first place after beating the A's on July 5. After their next win they were 14.5 games out and held just a 44-60 record.

Even when the Mariners were a half-game behind the Rangers in June, nobody expected it to last. It was more of a nice surprise than any kind of real run toward the playoffs.

However, there were two huge positives -- the performances of rookies Ackley and Michael Pineda. Pineda opened the season in the team's rotation and immediately appeared to be the prince to King Felix. Pineda, 22, is 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, but started the season 8-5 with a 2.58 ERA in his first 17 starts. He had some struggles, but the talent is obvious and even had some people even mentioning the possibility of a trade of Hernandez. That's not going to happen, instead the team will have a fearsome front of the rotation for years to come.

Ackley came up later in the season, but has done nothing but hit since singling off of Roy Oswalt in his first big-league at-bat.

While the kids impressed, the veterans were another story. Even the incomparable Ichiro Suzuki struggled in 2011, as it appears he'll fall short of 200 hits for the first time in his MLB career. Suzuki had a career .331 batting average coming into the season in which he's hit just .274/.312/.340. Chone Figgins continues to be a disaster, hitting .188/.241/.243, and is under contract through 2013. While Figgins is still around, Milton Bradley isn't, as the team designated him for assignment in May after he removed himself from a game and left the stadium. Franklin Guitierrez has never recovered from a stomach ailment, hitting just .224/.261/.273.

2012 AUDIT

The Mariners have the start of a good rotation, with Hernandez, Pineda and 22-year-old right-hander Blake Beavan. Charlie Furbush, 25, could surprise.

It appears the 2012 lineup is set -- or at least it is contractually. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's pretty much the same as it was this year when the team had the worst offense in the American League by just about any measurable statistic.

At this point, it seems like the best chance the Mariners have is hoping their pitching is good enough to carry them for most of the year and the likes of Justin Smoak, Trayvon Robinson, Casper Wells and Mike Carp. Yeah, that's not a lot to hang your hat on, but that's about where we are.

FREE AGENTS

RHP Chris Ray
2B Adam Kennedy
RHP Jamey Wright

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The team needs more offense, that's for sure. But where does it come from? The team has Bradley, Yuniesky Betancourt and Carlos Silva coming off the books -- but that's enough to make any GM balk at bringing in another big free-agent contract. And that doesn't even mention the $18 million still owed to Figgins. Ichiro will be in his last year under contract at $18 million and nobody's going to take him off their hands.

But the team still needs offensive help, so here's some suggestions that could help out the Mariners:

  • Sign Prince Fielder. It'd help, and when Fielder hits the ball, not even Safeco Field can hold his bombs. But with the ghosts of Figgins and the warning sign of Adam Dunn still out there, It may be tough for Jack Zduriencik to convince ownership to open their pocketbook to sign the 27-year-old Fielder. Unlike Dunn, though, Fielder is still under 30 and has several big years ahead of him. It will be tough to get Fielder to come to Safeco, but maybe he's heard Seattle has some amazing vegetarian restaurants. There aren't many quick fixes for an offense, but it's a heck of a start.
  • Try to deal Gutierrez. Yeah, it's selling low, and that's never a good thing -- and the Mariners would have to eat some salary, but he's still a defensive presence and can have a decent shot at bring back at least some bullpen help.
  • And why bullpen help? Because closer Brandon League could bring back a bat. To get something in return, you've got to give something up. And the All-Star closer is in his last year of arbitration, so it's better to get rid of him now and get something in return rather than run the risk of losing him in free agency (and wait for draft picks to develop). And at this point, a closer is a luxury, not a necessity. You have to score runs and get a lead before you can close one out.

If the Mariners get close to .500 and the rest of the division struggles (it could happen), things could get much better -- or at least more interesting in Seattle in 2012. But it's not until 2013 when Ichiro and others come off the books that the next generation of Mariners can take over.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 1:16 am
 

Playoff race: Angels can't gain ground



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former Ranger starter Tommy Hunter helped out his old mates, throwing seven shutout innings in an 8-3 Orioles victory over the Angels, keeping the status quo in the American League West as the Rangers fell 4-0 to the Mariners in Seattle. The Rangers still lead the division by you games.

While Hunter was silencing the Angels' bats, Texas native Blake Beavan shut down the Rangers, throwing eight shutout innings on just four hits, striking out three with no walks. Beavan was the Rangers' first-round pick in 2007, but was traded to Seattle as part of the deal that sent Cliff Lee to Texas last season. The Mariners scored three unearned runs off of Texas starter C.J. Wilson in the third inning before Casper Wells homered in the seventh inning for Seattle.

In Baltimore, the Angels' Dan Haren struggled, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in five innings, with Mark Reynolds taking him deep in the fifth inning. Haren is now 6-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 18 starts on the road this season and 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA in Anaheim.

Texas Rangers
86-65
Remaining schedule: 2 @ SEA, 3 @ OAK, 3 vs. SEA, 3 @ LAA
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 91.3 percent

Los Angeles Angels
82-68, 3.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 v. OAK, 3 v. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 8.7 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:27 pm
 

On Deck: Phillies/Giants becoming rivalry

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

PhilliesGiantsNO LOVE LOST: The Phillies and Giants seem to be sparking a rivalry, the seeds sown from San Francisco's victory in the NLCS last October en route to a World Series championship. Both teams have continued their division aspirations this year, and another wrinkle was added to the rivalry at the trade deadline when Carlos Beltran moved from the Mets to the Giants. Philadelphia had to contend with Beltran in its division and now is on a competitor vying for the world title. Then, on Friday, both teams had a benches-clearing brawl. Yeah, I'd say there's a rivalry brewing. It continues Saturday when Cole Hamels and Matt Cain oppose each other. Phillies vs. Giants, 4:10 p.m. ET

BeavanChatwoodROOKIE PITCHERS: Two rookies take the mound in the Seattle/Los Angeles tilt on Saturday, and not only are both off to solid starts, it's rather flukish. Take Blake Beavan for starters, who replaced Erik Bedard in the rotation and has made five starts. In 33 1/3 innings, he's walked six, struck out 15 and given up 31 hits. Only 25 percent of batted balls are falling for hits (league average: 29 percent) and it's not a happy accident -- batters are making hard contact off Beavan. He could still develop into a solid mid-rotation starter, but his 3.24 ERA on the year belies a 4.50 xFIP, more in line with his talent. Similarly, Angels rookie Tyler Chatwood boasts a 3.93 ERA in 20 starts -- but 60 walks and 58 strikeouts is horrendous, no matter how you slice it. His xFIP? 4.84. Only one can win Saturday. Mariners vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

PiratesSKIDDING: Both the Yankees and Phillies have won eight in a row, the best winning streak currently active. The "best" losing streak active is also at eight games and at the hands of the Pirates, who are now eight games out of first place. Their Cinderella season has now been relegated to finishing about .500. While eight games is not a death knell just yet, when you factor in that Pittsburgh had been playing over its head, it's quite a tough road for the club. Paul Maholm will attempt to snap the losing streak at home against Cory Luebke. Maholm has been the best starting pitcher all season for the Pirates, never amind the performances of Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia. Padres vs. Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:30 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Bay plays hero

Jason Bay

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Jason Bay, Mets: At one point someone on TV said, "Jason Bay's the Mets' last hope," and I thought to myself, that's the most ominous statement I've heard in a long time. Well, Bay proved me wrong. He walked in the ninth against Mariano Rivera and went on to score the game-tying run on Rony Paulino pinch-hit single off of Rivera. The next inning he singled with two outs and bases loaded to give the Mets a 3-2 victory over the Yankees.

Blake Beavan, Mariners: In his big-league debut, Beavan allowed three hits and a run in seven innings. The right-hander was acquired by the Mariners in last year's Cliff Lee deal and was called up to replace Erik Bedard, who went on the 15-day DL earlier this week. A control specialist, Beavan threw 64 strikes and 26 balls. 

Melky Cabrera, Royals: Cabrera was one of two Royals to finish a triple shy of the cycle in Kansas City's 16-8 victory over the Rockies. Cabrera finished with two homers and five RBIs. Eric Hosmer drove in four with four hits, including two singles. Kansas City had 12 extra-base hits in the win.


Cliff Lee, Phillies: He's not going to appear here much, but he certainly deserves to be in this slot following Sunday's game. Not only was his scoreless innings streak stopped at 34 in the third inning, he gave up four runs on three homers in the eighth inning, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in 7 1/3 innings in a loss to the Blue Jays

Ramiro Pena, Yankees: Filling in not only for Derek Jeter, but also Eduardo Nunez, Pena committed two errors in the last two innings, including a crucial error in the 10th inning that extended the inning for Bay. Pena's ninth-inning error nearly ended the game, but Brett Gardner and Russell Martin made great plays to nail Lucas Duda at the plate and send the game to the 10th. In the 10th, Pena bobbled a ball hit by Daniel Murphy with two on and two out, loading the bases for Bay. The good news is Jeter returns Monday.

Elvis Andrus, Rangers: With two outs in the eighth inning and Texas holding on to a 2-1 lead, Andrus booted a ball by Hanley Ramirez, allowing the tying run to score. Logan Morris followed with a two-run double and Mike Stanton added an RBI single. Florida went on to win, 6-4. Andrus' 16 errors is tied with Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro for second-most in baseball, with Baltimore third baseman Mark Reynolds leading the way with 19.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 10:42 am
Edited on: July 3, 2011 11:14 am
 

On Deck: Cliff Lee looks for 4th straight shutout


By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Cliff LeeTHE AMAZING Cliff Lee: Things aren't looking good for the Blue Jays in their rematch of the 1993 World Series, Toronto dropped the first two games and now face Cliff Lee. Lee enters Sunday's game riding streaks of three consecutive shutouts and 32 consecutive scoreless innings. The Phillies' lefty allowed just one run in five June starts, sporting an amazing 0.21 ERA in the month, lowering his season mark to 2.66. Lee is 2-3 with a 3.81 ERA in five career starts at Rogers Centre. Jo-Jo Reyes, no stranger to streaks, is on the hill for the Blue Jays. Phillies at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET (Follow live)


SEASON SWEEP:
Every year the Indians and Reds play for the Ohio Cup, an actual three-foot high trophy, awarded to the winning team of the season series. Since the actual trophy debuted, it had belonged to the Reds, but with Cleveland's win on Friday, coupled with a sweep at Progressive Field in May, the Indians clinched their first Ohio Cup and today will go for the first sweep in series history. Right-hander Mike Leake (7-4, 3.89 ERA) is making his first start against the in-state rivals, while Mitch Talbot allowed just one run in seven innings in his lone start against the Reds, last season at Great American Ball Park. Indians at Reds, 1:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

BIG DEBUT: Nearly a year after last year's big trade that sent Lee from Seattle to Texas, one of the key pieces of the trade will make his big-league debut. Right-hander Blake Beavan, a 2007 first-round pick by the Rangers, starts today against San Diego's Mat Latos. Beavan was acquired along with first baseman Justin Smoak, reliever Josh Lueke and second baseman Matt Lawson. Beavan was 5-3 with a 4.45 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma, with 64 strikeouts and 20 walks in 93 innings. Of the four players acquired by the Mariners in the trade, Beavan is the third member of the group to appear in the big leagues. Smoak is hitting .242/.344/.446 with 12 home runs for the Mariners, while Lueke pitched in eight games -- allowing 12 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings -- before being sent down to Triple-A and the Mariners traded Lawson to Cleveland for lefty Aaron Laffey. Lawson is still at Double-A. Padres at Mariners, 4:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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