I was one of them.
Rookie right-hander Brandon Beachy came off the disabled list on Wednesday to strike out a career-high 11 batters in six innings against the Blue Jays. The only run off him came courtesy of Jose Bautista’s major league-high 22nd homer.
Beachy, who missed a month with a strained left oblique, moved to 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in nine starts this season. In 12 starts since debuting last year, he has a 3.17 ERA.
Now, one doesn’t have to dig very hard to come up with pitchers who have started off their careers with a handful of good starts and quickly faded from there. Some guys have just enough deception in their deliveries or a tricky enough breaking ball to excel once around the league and then fall apart soon thereafter.
Still, most of those guys weren’t striking out batters like Beachy has so far. He has 72 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings as a major leaguer. This year, he has a 57/14 K/BB ratio in 50 1/3 innings.
That’s exceptionally encouraging, and it suggests that Beachy is here so stay. His fastball isn’t outstanding at 90-94 mph, but he has four legitimate pitches and very good command. Since I didn’t see a true outpitch, I viewed him as maybe a fifth starter and more likely a middle reliever entering this season. Now he looks much more like a legitimate No. 3.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: