Mets Could Get Beato Back

Back in 2005, the Mets spent their 17th-round pick on Pedro Beato, a tall and gangly pitcher out of Xaverian HS in Brooklyn, NY. It was a “draft-and-follow” choice, meaning the Mets retained the rights to sign him until one week before the next year’s draft.

As it turned out, Beato held out for a million-dollar deal, while MLB “recommended” that the Mets not offer him more than $800K. The Mets’ decision to take that recommendation and hold firm resulted in Beato not signing with the Mets and returning to the draft in 2006 — where the Baltimore Orioles made him the 32nd overall pick and signed him to the $1M he originally sought from the Mets.

This turn of events was randomly criticized by pundits of both the Mets and the Orioles; the Mets for adhering to the “slotting” recommendations of MLB, and the O’s for choosing Beato so high. Mets fans were frustrated with their team for listening to MLB and “cheaping out”, and perhaps also for denying destiny: Beato was a New York native born on October 27, 1986 — the day the Mets won their last World Series Championship.

As it turned out, MLB was probably right — Beato has yet to evolve into a pitcher worth a $1M bonus. Though, he has been steadily improving over the past five years. Originally considered a top prospect with the potential to someday become an ace starter, he has since settled into a relief role — which is usually the death knell for a minor league pitcher. However, Beato had a strong year in AA last year, saving 16 games and posting a 2.11 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 43 appearances, striking out 50, walking 19, and allowing 4 HRs in 59 IP. A stringbean in his youth, Beato has filled out his 6’6″ frame with 240 pounds and relies on a hard low-90s sinker, mid-90s four-seamer, and a hard-breaking 12-6 curve.

Because the Orioles are stacked with more promising pitching prospects, Beato was left off their 40-man roster and is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft that takes place at the end of the Winter Meetings in December. Beato was also available as a Rule 5 pick last year, but was coming off a poor season as a starter. 2010 was his first full year in the bullpen, and his numbers suggest that he may have found his niche.

Considering that the Mets are looking toward 2012 and beyond, it might make sense to use a Rule 5 pick on a potential middle reliever / possible setup man or closer such as Beato, who just turned 24 in October and may still have room for improvement. He already has good velocity and movement on his fastball and a plus curve; if he can concentrate on those two pitches rather than dabbling on 5 or 6 — something he’s done since high school — he could develop into a solid setup man one day.

Even if the Mets don’t pick Beato, I assume they will do their best to make the most of the Rule 5 Draft — it is an efficient vehicle for stocking up on talent that may not be ready today, but could be useful in the near future, for a team that has the room to carry not-ready-for-prime-time talent. Since the Mets are more or less unconcerned with making the 2011 playoffs, they have the room and the risk to gamble on players like Beato.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Larry Smith November 28, 2010 at 9:41 am
    The article states that the player was born in October of 1986 but later states that he just turned 23 in October. By my count that makes him 24.
    • Joe Janish November 28, 2010 at 11:37 am
      Apparently you have fresh batteries in your calculator … now I know why my Jeff Francoeur projections were so far off.

      Thanks for finding the error; it has been corrected.

  2. Herb G November 28, 2010 at 10:22 am
    Joe, You may be right about Beato finding his niche. But it’s also possible that last year was an abberation. With a career 1.40 WHIP and 4.21 ERA, I wouldn’t take the risk. There are several Rule 5 available pitchers who could possibly be of value to the Mets out of the pen this year. My top choice is 24 yr. old Ramon Delgado from the Cards organization. He has a career WHIP of 1.07 with 2.03 BB/9, 8.15 K/9. and an ERA of 2.32. Last year, in 66 innings split between A+ and AA, his WHIP was 0.91, 1.77 BB/9, 9.27 K/9 and ERA 1.36. If he is available when the Mets pick comes around, I’d grab him.
    • Joe Janish November 28, 2010 at 11:59 am
      Herb, Delgado’s numbers look good — agreed, he would be a good target.

      I’m not looking too deeply in Beato’s career numbers, for several reasons. First, minor league numbers often don’t tell the whole story, because of the varied skill and experience levels — sometimes stats are skewed because a player is at too high or too low a level for his age. Second, players can and often do improve in their early- to mid-20s. Third, in this case, it was Beato’s first year as a full-time reliever — maybe he simply doesn’t have the skill set or mentality for starting.

      Case in point: Johan Santana had a career 1.40 WHIP and 5.22 ERA in the minors when he was a 1999 Rule 5 pick.

      Beato is highly unlikely to become Santana, and I’m not suggesting he will — only providing an example where the minor league stats don’t tell the whole story.

      But again, agree with you on Ramon Delgado. There should be a few decent players worth taking.

  3. mic November 28, 2010 at 10:38 am
    good post. My guess is he still could be a late blooming starter.
  4. LongTimeFan November 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm
    I’m not throwing in the towel in 2011. If any Rule-Five pick of the Mets deserves a roster spot, Mets should provide it on both need and merit. The 25-man roster shouldn’t be tryout camp until Sept. Before then, Mets shouldn’t hold onto someone so as not to lose him, much the way they did with Ollie,

    If i’m not mistaken, Misch and Evans are out of minor league options Evans is good for the bench, but retaining Pat, comes with plenty risk. and takes up a roster slot as it is. Mets can ill afford to do that and God knows what with Ollie and an undeserving Rule Five pitcher if that’s the case.

    • CatchDog November 30, 2010 at 10:02 am
      Misch was actually out of options last season, along with Nieve. It’s a shame Jerry destroyed Fred Snow so early in the season.
  5. Walnutz15 December 1, 2010 at 12:53 pm
    Beato reminds me alot of another Xaverian guy I heard so much about in the late stages of H.S./early College (for me) — but not so much when it actually came to a professional career.

    This guy actually surfaced a couple years back, under the Minaya regime — and pitched in ST……his name’s Ruddy Lugo.

    While Lugo was never truly considered the “Top Prospect” that Beato was — maybe it just because more hyped because the Mets didn’t go overslot; he threw pretty hard, struggled as a starting pitcher in the Minor Leagues…..before permanently becoming a reliever. He only made The Bigs 7 years [w/Tampa] after the Brewers drafted him in the 3rd round in ’99.

    Beato was a 17th Round pick by the Mets in ’05, turned Sandwich Signing the next year [Orioles]…..if his velocity’s truly up to the mid 90′s again, then I wouldn’t mind taking a flier.

    If not, then he’s probably not much more than Lugo turned out to be. Always alotta hype when it came to Xaverian arms — never much in the way of Major League-bite.

  6. Anthony December 9, 2010 at 9:50 am
    Joe, I am surprised that you didn’t mention in this article that Baseball America and Buster Olney are predicting that a Mets prospect will be the #1 pick in the Rule V draft.