Good Work, Blake Beavan

good work

Last night, Blake Beavan allowed three home runs to the Angels in five innings. One of them was really bad because it came on a poor pitch in an 0-and-2 count. One of them was really bad because it was a home run. And one of them was really bad because it was hit really hard.

You might have heard about a recent home run hit by Giancarlo Stanton against Jamie Moyer. That home run was measured at 122.4 miles per hour off the bat, making it the fastest home run in recorded history, meaning the fastest home run since the start of 2006. It couldn't have been hit by a more appropriate player against a more appropriate player, and the ball broke Marlins Park's scoreboard. It was also a grand slam, in a full count, so when the Marlins announcer called it "theater" as Stanton rounded the bases, he wasn't really exaggerating.

Last night, Blake Beavan allowed this home run to Torii Hunter. It came immediately after Mark Trumbo went deep, and the distance on Hunter's blast was 431 feet, which is a lot of feet but not a staggering amount of feet*. Yet distance isn't the only thing that matters, and indeed, batted ball speed off the bat says more about the quality of contact.

* unless it's the amount of feet on a dog or an animal

Hunter's home run was measured at 119.2mph. That's slower than Stanton's home run, but faster than every other home run hit so far this season. Last October, Prince Fielder hit a home run at 119.2mph. Nobody got that high during the regular season, or during the 2010 playoffs. The last day that somebody other than Stanton hit a home run harder than Hunter's was May 3, 2010, when both Chris Snyder and Travis Snider did it, oddly enough. That covers more than two years.

As has become the custom, here's the pitch that led to the home run, and the presumed intended location:

Beavanhunter1_medium

Ahead in the count, Beavan and John Jaso were looking for a fastball down and inside, around the edges of the zone. The pitch that Beavan threw:

Beavanhunter2_medium

He missed up and he missed over the plate, meaning Blake Beavan threw Torii Hunter the Kenji Johjima Power Pitch. It wasn't right over the middle, but it was over the inner half, and it's easier to pull pitches that are over the inner half. And pulling pitches is how you generate batted-ball speed like Hunter did.

As usual, it isn't entirely Blake Beavan's fault that this pitch was hit for the second-hardest home run of the year. He missed his spot, sure, and he missed in a bad place, but Hunter still had to do the damage. Had somebody made that mistake to Brendan Ryan, we wouldn't have seen the same result. Had Beavan made that mistake to Torii Hunter another 50 times, we presumably wouldn't have seen the same result 50 times.

But Hunter did what he did after Beavan did what he did, and because this is sports I can sit here and say "hey way to go Blake Beavan" all sarcastically. That was a legitimately bad pitch, relative to Major League pitches. And Blake Beavan learned that, even if you fancy yourself a guy who generates weak contact, not every pitch you throw will generate weak contact. You have to put weak-contact pitches in weak-contact spots, and Blake Beavan very obviously did the opposite.

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