== Now there’s a ringing endorsement! ==
Lloyd McClendon has indicated his emerging choice of left-handed relief specialist — and it’s veteran Joe Beimel.
Beimel pitched for seven different organizations before taking 2013 off following Tommy John surgery.
But reports are that his arm is sound, and he is throwing in the upper 80s, which is pretty much where he was before the injury.
So … assume we get the Beimel glory days.
A pitcher who gets by on the skin of his teeth — though his teeth have a bit more skin against LH hitters.
Here are his career numbers broken down into platoon splits. The columns highlighted in blue are plate outcomes as a percentage of batters faced, with 100 set at the 10-year MLB average. The columns in red are the Brainstorm Designer Stats based on attaining non-random outs/denying non-random offense/composite of the two.
You can see that Beimel doesn’t strike guys out — of either hand. For his career, only 5.1 K/9 in 567 MLB appearances. That’s a long time to survive on stuff that thin.
Nor does he have any magic on balls in play or inducing weak contact. His career BABIP-against is .304 and his career ISO-against is .145 — both around average.
He is good at preventing walks, but only against lefty hitters. Righties walk more than 10% of the time against him.
So how does he stay employed throwing baseballs?
He’s been just-remarkable-enough at preventing home runs. His career HR-rate is 2.1% of batters faced, which is quite a bit below the average of 2.7%. That’s where he gets the blue numbers under “HR%+.” His HR-per-fly-ball rate is 6.1%, compared to average of 7.7%. And, as you can see, he does it against both LH and RH hitters. So even though he allows a lot of baserunners, he manages to just barely keep enough of them from scoring to stay alive.
But wait! On closer inspection, it appears that Beimel is pretty much average on that score as well — except for a remarkable two-year run with the Dodgers, when he appeared in 154 games and faced 495 batters, and gave up just one single home run.
Did he love Dodger Stadium? Maybe, but he appeared in just as many games on the road.
Did his manager just have a knack for putting him in against hitters who wouldn’t tee off on him? Maybe, but it was Grady Little the first year and Joe Torre the next.
Can a guy just be that incredibly lucky for two years in a row? Maybe.
Regardless, if you excise those 495 batters faced from his record, it ends up being very mediocre.
But, of course, he did pitch in those games, so it’s hard to know what to think. He just hasn’t had that level of success in other seasons.
So he’s probably tolerably effective against lefties, given his ability to limit walks and apparent (sometime) ability to limit homers.
But no excitement.