The Importance of the Jalen Beeks Trade

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BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 28: Jalen Beeks #68 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 28, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Jalen Beeks being moved for Nathan Eovaldi is a good move by all involved.  The original purpose of this article was to show how Jalen Beeks is important to the Boston Red Sox organization.  This could be either as a pitcher or a future trade chip.  I was in the middle of discussing how the Red Sox have not been able to successfully develop a starting pitcher since Jon Lester when the trade was announced.  Obviously, the Red Sox are looking to improve their starting rotation and this trade seems to answer the need.  However, did Boston give up on Jalen Beeks too early?  Let’s examine what the Tampa Bay Rays are receiving in this trade.

The Importance of the Jalen Beeks Trade

Jalen Beeks is dominating in the International League this season.  Heavy winds have been taking place throughout Pawtucket this season as Beeks threw 117 strikeouts.  The lefty owns a 2.89 ERA in 87.1 innings pitched. These incredible numbers are what lead to Jalen Beeks being named the number six prospect in the Red Sox organization.  What makes Beeks stand out is his ability to get the strikeout.  However, this has led to him having high pitch counts.  Pawtucket Manager Kevin Boles noticed this, and pulled Beeks in the not so late innings, despite pitching well.  The long ball has been Beeks’ crutch this season in both levels, allowing 10 in the International League.

In his first start of his young career, Beeks is unlucky.  Blake Swihart, who has been incredible lately, made his first start behind the plate since the 2015 season. Sam Travis also made the start in left field, as J.D. Martinez playing right field.  This was not the most defensively sound team the Red Sox have ever fielded.  Beeks managed to strike the first major league batter he faced out.  After that, things fell apart with Beeks surrendering six total earned runs in four innings. Later in July, Beeks again struggled, giving up three runs in two and a third innings pitched.

Writing the former Arkansas Razorback off after these abysmal appearances is not something a sensible baseball fan or executive will do.  That is why the Rays pulled the trigger on this deal.  Getting this sort of return on Nathan Eovaldi is a low risk high reward move for Tampa.  If Jalen Beeks can turn into the strikeout machine he has shown himself to be throughout his career, Tampa could make out like gangbusters, even if Eovaldi does well with Boston.

Jalen Beeks made his debut with Tampa and again fell flat.  However, Kevin Cash and the Rays continue to express they are giving Beeks the opportunity to adjust to the major leagues.  Beeks has stated that he has had to adjust at every level and this will be no different in the major leagues.  In every major league game Jalen Beeks has pitched in, he has shown glimpses of the “stuff” he has and his ability to get strikeouts.  If the Rays can help develop the former 12th round draft pick flourish into a quality, strikeout pitcher, the Rays future looks even more bright.
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