The Mets have put Pedro Beato on the 15-Day disabled list today with elbow tendinitis. The team picked up the contract of left-hander Mike O'Connor to replace him on the roster. This could be a good time to look at the strong work the Mets' Rule 5 draft pick has put together so far.
Beato hasn't given up an earned run in his first 17 appearances as a Met - and he's only two outs short of Jack DiLaurio's team record for most consecutive scoreless innings to open a career. If this health issue turns out to be minor - there's no word yet - it's fair to wonder if he would be next in line for saves should the team jettison Francisco Rodriguez.
Of course, much of what Beato has done so far has been helped along by good fortune. He has a .191 BABIP, and there isn't a standout skill on his ledger other than control (1.59 BB/9 this year). He hasn't always had good control, but since he's switched to relieving from closing, his walk rate has dropped precipitously and has been above average for two-plus years now. We can probably agree that he has strong control, at least in short stints.His strikeout rate (5.29 K/9) is below-average, and that's held true even with his switch from starting. With a 6.7 swSTR%, you're not going to have a great strikeout rate (8.5% is average). If he keeps his walks below 2.5 per nine, he can at least have that 2-to-1 K/BB ratio that is often talked about as a harbinger of major league success.
On the other hand, if you have a strong groundball rate, you can do well without that particular stat falling in your favor. Beato's current groundball rate (42.2%) is below average (44%), but there's a caveat. In the minor leagues, Beato always had above-average groundball rates against righties. In his short major league sample, that platoon split has reversed, but as a righty, it's more likely that he's better against righties long term.
Terry Collins' usage patterns suggest that it's actually Jason Isringhausen that's ahead of Beato in the bullpen pecking order, but any use that the team can get out of a free pitcher is good use. The fact that Beato has four or five legit pitches - 2-seam, 4-seam, curve, slutter, and change according to garik16 - is also exciting. The four pitches that show in BIS' calculations all rate positively by linear weights, too, but those numbers are based on actual results and don't have luck stripped out.
Once you do strip out that luck, he's been a decent major league reliever. And, oh yeah, he was free. Let's hope he gets healthy quickly.