Jalen Beeks Will Make His MLB Debut Today, But Does The Risk Outweigh The Potential Reward?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Drew Pomeranz hitting the DL the Red Sox are set to call on one of their top pitching prospects, lefty Jalen Beeks, to at least take one turn through the rotation.  The 24-year old Beeks (who will turn 25 on July 10) has thrived to open the year at Triple-A, putting up impressive numbers across the board:

56.1 IP, 2.56 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.78 K/9, 2.24 BB/9

He’s made 27 starts at Triple-A over the past two years, so he has the upper level experience, the question is going to be if the stuff will translate to the Majors?

The strikeout mark has been highly impressive, though it hasn’t been consistent throughout his career.  He currently owns an 8.5 K/9 in the minor leagues, though he’s seen a jump in his SwStr% this season:

  • 2016 – 11.0%
  • 2017 – 11.3%
  • 2018 – 13.1%

This preseason scouting report, courtesy of Baseball America, does add hope that he can maintain a strikeout rate in the 9.0 range even in the Majors:

In 2017, however, he regained the impressive depth to his changeup that he showed in Greenville in 2015 while developing a cutter that he could use to get on the hands of righties, thus opening up the plate for a two-plane, low-90s fastball and an average curveball in a campaign that altered the view of his abilities.

His control has never been an issue (2.8 BB/9 over his minor league career), though it also isn’t an elite mark and could settle in at about 3.25-3.50.  At 5’11” there has been the thought that home runs could be an issue as he advances.  That can be seen in his lack of a big groundball rate over the past few years:

  • 2016 – 38.2%
  • 2017 – 46.4%
  • 2018 – 39.3%

It appears that 2017 is the aberration, and the home run question has been seen at Triple-A this season (1.12 HR/9).  That number could rise in the Majors, and coupled with his lack of elite control there could be some stumbles along the way.

Strikeouts may make him seem alluring, but it’s hard to get overly excited about his outlook (especially pitching in the AL East).  While he could hold some streaming value and is worth owning in all dynasty formats, in re-draft leagues he’s hardly a must add.

Sources – MILB.com, Baseball America, Fangrphs, Baseball Reference

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists:

First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Third Base1-10

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