With the way the New York Mets bullpen has struggled this season, they are taking a flier on former White Sox pitcher Chris Beck.
On Wednesday, the Mets made an addition to the ‘pen by adding Chicago White Sox reliever Chris Beck off of waivers:
Mets claimed reliever Chris Beck off waivers from the White Sox with a recommendation from Mickey Callaway.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) June 13, 2018
For the Mets, this is a classic case of an organization taking a chance on a player that was drafted high by another organization. Back in 2012, the White Sox selected Beck in the second round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft. In 97 career games with Chicago, Beck has a 5.94 ERA and has 81 strikeouts to 66 walks in 119.2 innings.
If you look at the past two seasons, Beck has had a problem with keeping opposing hitters from hitting the ball out of the yard. Dating back to 2017, he has allowed 21 home runs (16 of those came last year). Out of those 16 home runs, nine of those came against right-handers (.314 average against).
Beck has three pitches in his arsenal. A fastball that averages out at 95.2 miles per hour, a slider, and a split-finger. This year, he has nearly doubled the use of his splitter from 10.4 percent to 20.4 percent. These numbers are all courtesy of FanGraphs.
While Beck has that nasty splitter, he has trouble locating his fastball and that can lead to a lot of flyballs (40.2 percent of the time courtesy of FanGraphs). According to Brooks Baseball, teams have walked 11 times on that pitch and are slugging .604 when they get any type of fastball.
The one thing is surprising about this Beck acquisition was that he struggled last season against the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals. He had a 5.06 ERA in eight games against the Indians (.333 average against) and a 13.50 ERA in five outings against the Royals (.364).
Since Mickey Callaway was the one who recommended claiming Beck off of waivers to the front office and guaranteeing him a roster spot, it tells you they must see something in him that goes past the numbers because Beck did not pitch well against Callaway or Dave Eiland’s squads last year.
The question going forward is going to be how Beck will be used in the Mets bullpen. He does have a save this season, but that was his first career save. With the White Sox, Beck was used as a middle reliever, but six of the 23.2 innings he threw this year were in the eighth. Plus, he has thrown multiple innings in an outing five different times (three times he has gone three innings or more).
Right now, the Mets have to be hoping they can find lightning in a bottle and that a change of scenery can help Beck get closer to the hype that he had when the White Sox selected him back in 2012.
At this point, any help that the Mets can get in the bullpen is an added bonus, even though that is not their biggest problem right now.