== We Check So U Don’t Have To! ==
Who’s 2 Legit 2 Quit and who’s … well … insufficiently Legit?
You know there are always some guys who pick up some springtime buzz, or show up “in the best shape ever” or maybe they “tweaked their arm action” — or whatever.
How to sort things out?
Our 2 Legit Watch is here to help.
Blake Beavan, RHP
Two decent outings. Now he’s “quietly making a bid …”
The argument is that Beavan has returned to the mechanics that he used when he was an 11-game winner in 2012.
Problem: Beavan won 11 games while striking out only 4.0 per 9 IP, and giving up an ISO-against of .194.
He pitched in 26 games and gave up 39 doubles and 23 home runs. In other words, on average, every batter he faced was Miguel Cabrera.
Going back to the “Golden Age of Blake Beavan?”
Sorry: Not 2 Legit
Xavier Avery, OF
Lloyd McClendon is smitten.
Avery is a game-changer! And his manager is saying the kinds of things that baseball folk love to say about the proverbial “raw, toolsy” players. If you’ve been following our work, you know we usually have healthy skepticism toward “the raw and the toolsy.”
And the main thing is that hitting entails advanced pattern-recognition skills that many (not all) physically gifted athletes never master. Bo Jackson was maybe the most gifted power-speed-agility human of all time. And he was able to survive in baseball only by brute force and blazing speed, not because he ever got particularly good at it.
Of course, there are lots of exceptions (Dave Winfield, Kirk Gibson). Is Avery one of them? So far, not so good. He does draw some walks and bring lots of speed to the table, but he strikes out too much for a guy with a career ISO under .100. His numbers do not suggest success against major-league pitching is in the cards.
As a role player just on the roster to play CF and disrupt on the basepaths? Sure, if you have that luxury, but don’t expect much more than that. And Avery being another LH-hitting OF doesn’t help in providing some handedness-balance either.
Can’t completely rule him out: Legit Jury Still Deliberating
Nick Hill, LHP
I’ve been pumping up Hill in the Shout Box at SeattleSportsInsider.com, so there’s no real suspense on the verdict here.
But for background: Hill graduated from West Point and combined his early minor-league career with military duty as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army. He was emerging as an interesting prospect in 2009 and made some top-10 prospect lists before the 2010 season.
Then injuries started hitting, causing him to miss part of the 2010 season, all of the 2011 season and virtually all of the 2012 season. He came back in 2013 having been pretty much forgotten, but, healthy again and free of most military obligations, he re-emerged as a LH bullpen option. And here’s why:
2013 vs. LH hitters: 83 batters faced — 13 singles, 0 extra-base hits | 8 BB, 24 K | .178/.268/.178
He actually hadn’t been that effective against lefties in the past, but on his comeback trail he absolutely dominated them.
And McClendon has said he likes having extra lefties in the pen.
Verdict: 2 Legit 2 Quit