Mets Spring Training Question 7: Pedro Beato

There are 7 days — one week — before pitchers and Molinas report to spring training. And so we examine Mets question #7 of the spring: what will become of Pedro Beato?

As a Rule 5 pick, the Mets were forced to keep Beato on their 25-man roster all season, or offer him back to the Orioles. However, the Mets were never really “forced”, as Beato pitched as well as anyone could have expected and he became an important contributor out of the bullpen.

However, the Mets do not “have to” keep him on the 25-man roster in 2012, and there was some buzz late last season about returning Pedro Beato to a starting role.

After what he showed last year, it’s clear that Beato can be a decent middle reliever in a Major League bullpen, and possibly develop into a 7th- or 8th-inning guy — though probably not a closer. On the other hand, he has four “plus” pitches — four-seam fastball, sinker, change-up, and curveball — which is enough of a repertoire for a starter. Though he didn’t exactly find stardom as a starter in his minor league career, it’s possible that he’s matured, and/or just needed a change of scenery to “figure it out”. At age 25, he’s not necessarily too old to spend a year in AAA to further hone his skills with the long-range goal of joining the Mets starting rotation.

So the question this spring is, will the Mets go forward with the Beato-as-starter experiment? Or will they ultimately decide that he has more value as a reliever?

Further, if he does go into spring training as a starter, will he have a legitimate opportunity to win a spot in the 2012 rotation? It’s not completely unrealistic to believe he could grab a spot with a strong performance and/or something going wrong with one of the presumed starters.

If it were up to me, I’d go ahead with the idea of making him a starter, and stick with it at least through June — be it in Buffalo, Binghamton, or Flushing. I think this should be the plan even if he’s good enough to be in the Mets bullpen, because in my mind there is more long-term potential for him as a starter, combined with the fact that the Mets have little starting depth in the upper minors. In my opinion, it’s easier to find a decent middle reliever than it is to find a decent starter.

What do you think? Will Pedro Beato spend his time “stretching out” for starting duty, and if he does, is that what you think he should be doing? Does it make sense to send him to AAA to convert to starting, even if it appears he’s one of the best options for the bullpen? Why or why not? Explain in the comments.

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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. NormE February 13, 2012 at 9:28 am
    I agree. With a projected bullpen of Acosta, Byrdak, Francisco, Parnell, Ramirez and Rauch, there is room for one other arm. It doesn’t have to be Pedro. Beato would have greater value trying to develop into a starter in the minors.
  2. Bill February 13, 2012 at 11:55 am
    Seems to me that the value of starting pitching is such that any pitcher who has a decent shot at succeeding as a starter should have every opportunity to do so. It’s better both for the team and for the player. It’s never too late for a pitcher to convert to middle relief; that’s why there are so many average middle relievers kicking around the league, and so few average starters.
  3. Carl February 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    I’ve read somewhere that he actually prefers being a reliever than starting, but I agree he should definitely be tried as a starter in Buffalo this year.
  4. jerseymet February 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm
    Pedro starts …agreed.
  5. DaveSchneck February 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm
    Don’t see a spot for him in Flushing. Two opptions at Buffalo, starting or closing. Starting makes more sense to begin with.
  6. BCA February 14, 2012 at 9:40 am
    Pedro can start but also how about Acosta? Just a thought.
  7. Izzy February 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm
    Who moved him out of starting? The Orioles? Enough said. Look at their starters. Give him another shot.
  8. argonbunnies February 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm
    Long track record of mediocrity as a minor league starter plus didn’t have the easiest time with the easier job of relieving last year. Doesn’t miss enough bats.

    I don’t think he’s good enough to start. I see better odds for him as a reliever.

    As for whether he should start or relieve right now, I’m indifferent. He should probably do whatever fits best for the organization.