Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
I think we all see things differently at the end of a season as opposed to when we’re in the heat of the action. Sometimes you look up when it’s all said and done and wonder, “How did that guy end up playing so much?” Well, Jeff Beliveau is one of those guys.
The 30-year-old Beliveau joined the Blue Jays as a minor league free agent, signed in December of 2016 after he had spent the 2016 season with the Orioles in their minor league system, mostly pitching down in Advanced-A Frederick. That was a huge drop for Beliveau who had accumulated 58 major league appearances from 2012 to 2015, with a stint in the majors in each season. The time in A-ball had come as he was recovering from 2015 shoulder surgery on his left labrum and 2017 marked the first time he returned to the major leagues, thus the season should be viewed as a success.
Beliveau, finally feeling healthy for the first time after his surgery started the year with the Buffalo Bisons and was dominating hitters in the International League, limiting opponents to a .544 OPS and striking out 43 in 32 innings. While his ERA was 3.09, he had a WHIP below 1.00 in that almost-two-month stretch. Most of that ERA came from two appearances, one in which he allowed three runs in two innings and another in which he gave up four runs in one inning.
Called up to Toronto, he wound up sticking around the club for a month and a half, making 19 appearances, pitching his way to a 7.47 ERA, again, pitching fairly well most of the time but giving up three runs in an inning once and six runs without retiring a batter on his final appearance (following three straight appearance in which he gave up a run). Batters hit him to the tune of an .898 OPS in Toronto despite a strong strikeout rate of 24.3% while walking only 8.6%. Interestingly, while in Toronto, Beliveau’s fastball velocity at 90.0 mph was faster than any other year in his career except for 2012 (90.5 mph), indicating that he was fully recovered from his surgery after his velocity had fallen to 87.2 mph in 2015.
Still, after allowing six runs without getting a batter out on July 21 against the Indians, Beliveau was shipped back to the minors and he finished the season off fairly solidly (although having trouble with his command and striking out fewer batters) with the Buffalo Bisons. He had a 3.04 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP over 50 1/3 innings in Triple-A, striking out 60 while walking 26. In Toronto that 7.47 ERA reared its ugly head while he had a 1.47 WHIP and 17 strikeouts with six walks over 15 2/3 innings.
As a left-handed pitcher who had success at least at the Triple-A level, Beliveau will get a minor league contract somewhere. I don’t think he figures in the Blue Jays plans but if the bullpen in Buffalo seems a bit thin, I could see him coming back.
Beliveau is a free agent.
Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: D
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