Lawrenceville, Georgia —— The baseball gods giveth, and the baseball gods, they taketh away.
Pedro Beato suffered through three years of minor league baseball just to get another shot at the big leagues this summer. Originally drafted in 2006, Beato last saw the big leagues in 2014, and found himself heading towards—and past—his 30th birthday without another shot at The Show. Along the way earlier this year pitching for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the Philadelphia Phillies system, Beato was throwing the best he’d ever thrown in his career. But again—north of 30 years old, never a reliever who could miss bats, and not on the club’s 40-man roster, chances were slim Pedro Beato would ever find himself back in a big league clubhouse.
None of that matters when you’re getting sustained outs over the course of a few months, though, and 27 saves in 44 relief appearances with Lehigh Valley was bound to eventually draw attention. The Philadelphia Phillies finally pulled the trigger on July 29th and purchased Beato’s contract, clearing a 40-man roster spot and bringing him back to the big leagues for the first time in three years. That night, Beato got two outs, and then he pulled his hamstring.
This game is fuckin’ cruel, man.
The Pedro Beato I saw nearly two weeks ago with Lehigh Valley was a man finally centered on his role and stuff; a veteran who knew what he needed to do to get outs and was efficient in his command and work to move through innings quickly and rack up saves. His stuff is far from overpowering, and not the least bit dominant, but he spots the ball well and he’s learned how to pitch. He’s proven unable to miss bats (just 36 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched), but hitters are having just as much trouble squaring him up: 34 hits in 46.1 innings pitched, with a .202 opponents’ batting average.
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It’s ironic, really; by his 30th birthday (the righty will be 31 in October), Pedro Beato finally learned how to be a professional pitcher, and yet the dreaded 30-year-old mark is way past a pitcher’s prime. That’s washed up territory, the point in time where a ballplayer decides to make a move to Japan, or Korea, or Mexico to max out their earning potential for just another year or two before the baseball gods chew ’em up and spit ’em out. And considering even just a few days ago Beato was 30 years old and not on a 40-man roster? His chances of being called up became slimmer still.
But Beato persevered, through the week, through the season, through the last three years since he last reached The Show, and through a professional career where he was drafted in the first round only to never quite reach his potential. Now, having been placed on the 10-day disabled list, maybe this is it for Pedro Beato. Maybe a couple weeks off will ruin his rhythm, kill his stellar season, and banish him back to the minor leagues, never to return to The Show. Maybe those two outs he got on July 29th for the Philadelphia Phillies will prove to be his last hurrah. Or maybe he’ll prove everyone wrong again, bide his time, and return to the big leagues—be it in two weeks, two months, or two years from now—to chase down the dream that can be so cruel, but so beautiful.
Whatever happens in the aftermath of his hamstring injury, Pedro Beato deserves all the credit in the world for never quitting along the development process and sticking with his career the last several seasons. However brief this call-up may have been due to that hamstring injury, Pedro Beato earned every single second of it—and then some.