At first glance, Pedro Beato’s numbers have been nothing if not mediocre. And that’s true. But even at that very same first glance, its obvious Beato has had a decent season and has easily been more good than bad. And that alone puts him in rare company.
The company he keeps as a Rule V draftee is not very impressive as a whole, which admittedly lowers the bar, but the very nature of what a Rule V draftee is puts a “good” rookie season right near the top of the list.
As of this writing, Roberto Clemente is the only Rule V pick to make it to the Hall of Fame. Johan Santana was on a Hall of Fame career path until his latest injury, which puts his future in doubt. Other notable Rule V picks that found their way onto an All Star Team include Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla, Joakim Soria, Bobby Bonilla, Darrell Evans, Mike Morgan and Jose Bautista. There have been others to make an All Star Team, 23 in total, but excuse me if I don’t consider Fernando Viña, Dave May and Bip Roberts “notable.” Rarer indeed is the Rule V pitcher to later be named an All Star. Only six have done so.
What puts Pedro Beato in the same company as All Star caliber players? Not a whole lot, except for the fact that Beato might be putting up a top-3 Rule V season in history amongst the top pitchers drafted via Rule V. We certainly know Santana’s early struggles as a major leaguer. Even Roberto Clemente himself struggled (.255/.284/.382, 5 home runs in 501 plate appearances as a 20-year-old in 1955). Granted, Clemente is not a pitcher, but he is one of the game’s greats and Beato is having a better rookie season than he did.
Of the six Rule V pitchers to make even one All Star team, Beato’s had arguably the third-best rookie season behind Hernandez’s 1977 and Soria’s 2007 seasons. Consider the chart of all seven compared to Beato (as of 9/2/11).
*Meek was DFA’d after his 13 IP, but the Pirates purchased his rights outright and demoted him.
**Morgan was not a rookie when left unprotected and subject to the Rule V Draft. The stats reflect his injury-plagued 1985 Rule V season, though his actual rookie year was not much better.
What makes Beato’s season special is that he had never pitched above AA before and likely wouldn’t have seen major league action for the Orioles this season had he not been drafted (a fair assumption since he didn’t even warrant a 40-man roster spot). But the Mets, to their credit, let the kid throw. Many, many Rule V draftees saw no action from the back of the pen because they were not deemed ready but were promising enough to want to keep, or simply DFA’d. But Beato has been thrust into some high-pressure roles and has done well considering his lack of experience.
By definition, relievers are fickle, and accordingly, Beato’s rookie season doesn’t do much to predict his future. But he already seems a leg up on some of the pitchers who turned out pretty well, so keep in mind the context of his season when evaluating his performance.