I wrote briefly last week about new Mets second baseman Brad Emaus, who is competing for a shot to be the starting second baseman, and how he may have the inside track at making the roster because of his Rule V status.
The Rule V draft is an intriguing concept unique to baseball that allows teams to find diamonds in the rough, so to speak, provided that they're willing to commit to the player long term.
If the Mets want to keep Brad Emaus long term, he must make the 25-man active roster, and stay on the team for the duration of the season. Otherwise, the player must be sent back to his original team. In Emaus's case, that would be Toronto.
Many players are selected each year in the Rule V draft, and although many of them do not pan out as big acquisitions, there is an impressive list of players who made their major league debuts with teams that drafted them away from their original organizations.
Johan Santana, Dan Uggla, Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria, Shane Victorino, and even Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente are all notable Rule V draftees.
Brad Emaus is not the only Rule V draftee from the AL East in camp with the Mets this year, however. The Mets also plucked right hander Pedro Beato from the Orioles system, and he has impressed so far this spring.
Beato (pronounced Be-ah-toe) was born on October 27th, 1986, the day the Mets won the 1986 World Series. Interestingly enough, left hander Jon Niese was also born that day, so maybe these two guys were born to play for the Mets.
But unlike Niese, an Ohio native who was drafted by the Mets in 2005 and emerged as a viable starting pitcher last season, Beato's Mets roots go beyond his birthdate.
A Dominican native, Beato grew up a Mets fan and attended Xavierian High School in Brooklyn, where he was originally drafted in the 17th round of the very same 2005 draft by the Mets. Unlike Niese, Beato did not sign, and was drafted by the Orioles in the first round of the draft the following season.
Now, the 24-year-old has returned to the Mets as a potential star in the making, and he's been drawing rave reviews in camp from everyone who has watched him.
He has a live arm, and manager Terry Collins even went as far as to say his arm was "outstanding." SNY's Kevin Burkhardt tweeted that Beato has the best fastball in camp.
Beato likely has the inside track at one of the bullpen spots because of his Rule V status, and I doubt the Mets want to let an arm like that get away.
On Saturday Beato will make his debut in a Mets uniform, six years in the making, against the Braves in the Mets spring opener.
For a deeper look at the young man who may have literally been born a Met, check out Andy McCullough's piece in the Star-Ledger on Beato. An excerpt from his piece mentions the following:
He throws four-seam and two-seam fastballs, cutters, curveballs and changeups. Collins complimented the break of his curveball. First baseman Ike Davis noted the sink of his two-seamer. Beato cautioned that he won’t hit his top velocity, 97 mph, until adrenaline floods his system during the season. He believes in his pitches.
“I throw them all,” he said. “It depends on the situation.”
In times like these, the dilemma is context. With Beato, the casual observer marvels at the velocity of his fastball, the snap of his breaking ball. The practiced eye sees more.
Beato, as far as pitching coach Dan Warthen can tell, must work on “maintaining his delivery. He’s getting a little jumpy right now.” Warthen noted that Beato is “still inconsistent with his release points, his landing right now.”
...Warthen chalked the inconsistencies up to youth, the rustiness of spring and Beato’s excitement at rejoining his hometown team.
Beato mentioned that although he knows the significance of his presence in camp this year, he is not going to take it for granted.
“I’m not going to come here thinking in my head that I’ve got a spot because I got Rule Fived,” Beato said, “or I’m going to lay back and just let things happen. So I’m just going to work hard every day and bust my behind to win my spot.”
That is the type of attitude that I love to see in a young guy fighting for a spot on the team. He has shown tremendous potential thus far in his professional career, pitching to a 2.11 ERA last season in AA.
Although it remains to be seen if Pedro Beato is ready to make the jump from AA straight to the majors this season, I like what I've seen and heard from him so far. He certainly seems like a guy to keep an eye on this spring.