As fantasy baseball owners, we take pride in finding and stashing some of the lesser known names in the game. In many deep dynasty leagues it is the key to long term success. Being able to recognize the “diamonds in the rough” and have them produce for your team is one of the best ways to get a leg up. It is not easy to identify those under the radar guys, and the ones we do take chances on often times don’t pan out the way we hope.
However, the Rangers do have an interesting “project” going on with one of their ballplayers in the lower levels and he could be worth keeping an eye on.
You may be familiar with the name Jairo Beras because of the controversy that surrounded the Rangers signing him for $4.5 million back in 2012. Prior to signing, he was a highly touted international outfield prospect with what many considered to be a powerful bat and a rocket for an arm. He faced a year-long suspension in 2012, and when his debut season came around in 2013, the DR native only logged 64 at bats in the rookie Arizona League.
Beras made the jump to Single-A in 2014. It was clear he was not ready for the step up in competition. He struck out 133 times in 110 games while posting an OPS of .647. He had as many strikeouts as he did total bases over that campaign. He got another shot in Hickory in 2015 where he performed much better. 2016 was Beras’ breakout season where he slugged .511 and hit 22 homers in 409 at-bats while playing in the hitter friendly California League.
The Rangers sent the then 22 year old back to Advanced-A to start 2017. It became clear that Beras’ 2016 numbers were certainly a product of the environment he was playing in. He struggled to a .654 OPS in the Carolina League. Concern was beginning to grow as the once promising prospect was struggling through yet another season.
Then, one night in the middle of May, with the Down East Wood Ducks getting blown out, Beras was called on to pitch the ninth inning.
The 6’6 righty took the mound and showcased that rocket arm many scouts had talked about. He came out throwing fastballs nearing triple digits and tossed a 1,2,3 inning. From there, the decision was made: Beras was going to be converted into a pitcher.
After some time working from the mound and not seeing any game action outside of the occasional DH appearance, Beras was sent back to Hickory to try things out exclusively as a pitcher. He came out of the bullpen 13 times for the Crawdads and tossed 13.1 innings. He allowed 8 earned runs, struck out 14, and walked nine, not the start one would hope for. But not a surprise for a position player trying to learn how to pitch for the first time in a professional setting.
While the mechanics need a lot of work and the delivery does not look very smooth most of the time, Beras might be a good arm for you to stash away on your minor league roster if you have a relatively deep league. People are viewing Beras as an outfield bust, not a raw pitcher with the potential to turn into a fireballing reliever. He has already added a second pitch with a nice slider. A little more work this offseason and Beras could make noise from the mound down the road.
Featured Image Credit: https://twitter.com/AntonioBeras/status/524785842410504193