Beavan works off rust at instructs

Because first-round pick Blake Beavan's negotiation process with the Rangers went down to the final day, he was unable to participate in a professional game in 2007. Lone Star Dugout has a question-and-answer feature with the right-handed pitcher, who recently played with the Rangers' fall instructional league team.

When the Rangers selected right-handed pitcher and Irving native Blake Beavan with the 17th overall pick in June, it marked the first time they had selected a Dallas/Fort Worth native with their first pick of the draft.

Because Beavan's negotiation process took longer than expected – he did not sign until the August 15 deadline – the 6-foot-6 hurler was unable to pitch competitively in the 2007 season.

The Rangers brought Beavan to their minor league complex in Surprise, Ariz., shortly after he signed. Though he didn't appear in any Arizona League games, the righty began working out on a throwing program. After the season ended, Beavan pitched in the fall instructional league with 34 other young Rangers prospects.

Beavan works with a three-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball, a slider, and a changeup. His fastball generally sits in the 92-94 range and tops out even higher at times. The 18-year-old's strikeout pitch is considered to be his hard slider. He also uses a changeup, which is a work-in-progress.

Lone Star Dugout caught up with Beavan after he tossed four scoreless innings in his last instructs outing of the year last Thursday.

Jason Cole: How did you feel about your performance today?

Blake Beavan: I felt ok. It was not the best as far as feeling good arm wise, but I went out there and got the job done. I had a good defense behind me, they made the plays. Altogether I think it was a good outing for both sides.

Cole: How have you performed at instructs compared to your expectations going into it?

Beavan: I think I've done better than I thought I was going to do down at instructs just because the hitters are better here. You know, the pro ball difference. I'm working on my changeup as much as I can and not throwing the slider as much. All in all everything has been working pretty good.

Cole: Can you give a ballpark figure on how many changeups you threw today?

Beavan: I probably threw the changeup 12 or 13 times.

Cole: Would you say that was more than you threw the slider?

Beavan: Yeah.

Cole: What else have you worked on at instructs?

Beavan: Reaching out more on my front leg as far as arm-release action when you finish. Also keeping a good arm slot when I throw my changeup – not dropping my arm as much and getting underneath it so it doesn't hang. I'm trying to get on top of my pitches more just to get the full effect of each pitch.

Cole: Is that something you've had a problem with in the past?

Beavan: Every pitcher has problems with that. That's why pitchers hang pitches. They drop their arm too much or they tilt their wrist the wrong way. Mine is the same exact thing throwing the slider and changeup. You tend to let your arm be a little lazy and it falls on you then you just hang them. I've been working on keeping my arm on top and getting that down effect on the slider.

Cole: Were you throwing a two-seam fastball out there today?

Beavan: Yeah.

Cole: Was it all two-seamers?

Beavan: Two-seams and four-seams.

Cole: Have you changed the way you've thrown those since you've been with the Rangers? For example, are you throwing more or less of one of your fastballs?

Beavan: I've just been pretty much sticking to the regular routine as far as fastball-wise. I'm just mixing up the two-seam and four-seam depending on whether it's a right-handed or left-handed hitter.

Beavan is working on his arm slot.
Cole: Being a high school pitcher with a good fastball, you probably didn't use your changeup much in high school. Can you talk about the importance of being able to develop it for professional ball?

Beavan: It's a big pitch. You've got to keep it down, you've got to command it with the strike zone, and you've got to keep it low and put it where you want to put it. If you leave one up, they're going to hit it hard. If you leave one around the zone, they're either going to foul it off or just crank one. I found that out after leaving my fastballs up. They hit doubles off them and they hit them hard. You've just got to learn from your mistakes, practice in the bullpen with your coaches, and go out there and try to do a better job next time.

Cole: After such a long layoff between the end of your high school season and instructs, were you a little bit rusty once you first got out here?

Beavan: I think velocity-wise yes. As far as your arm not being as loose and ready as it was in high school after laying off five months. But altogether towards the end I think I started getting a little more strength.

Cole: What did you do to stay in shape over that long layoff?

Beavan: I threw bullpens all summer and worked out four or five times per week. I tried to keep my body in as good of shape as I could while I was back at home waiting on the negotiation stuff.

Cole: What's the plan for the offseason?

Beavan: Pretty much the same thing I'm doing down here. Probably harder working out just because it's not during the season. In the offseason you're definitely going to lift more and try to get stronger. I'm going to go home and eat – eat as much as I can eat. Try to put some pounds on.

Cole: You mentioned putting a few pounds on. Is that something the Rangers want you to do?

Beavan: They pretty much just told me to keep in shape and go home and work on the stuff I've got to do. I pretty much told them I was going to go home and eat and try to come back in spring training five or six pounds heavier.

Cole: What is the weight you're at right now?

Beavan: In between 218 and 220.

Cole: Have the Rangers given you any idea as to what their plans are for you next year?

Beavan: No, they haven't discussed that at all. They pretty much just said nothing is going to dictate anything as far as starting in A-ball or anything. But wherever I start or wherever they put me I'm just going to work as hard as I can work.

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