Left-hander Mark Cohoon, the Mets' 12th round pick in the 2008 Draft, was the first of his draft…
Beaulac Pleased With His Work
Looking back on his first professional season, Eric Beaulac has reason to feel good. His 25.1 innings pitched in Savannah this summer were the second most of any rookie on a long-season squad [behind Mark Cohoon] on top of getting a taste of Kingsport and Brooklyn as well.
"This season was so much fun," he said. "I got to play against awesome competition and move up a few levels, so it was all very exciting and thrilling and I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Pitching in three levels gave him a unique experience and an opportunity to test his abilities against a wide range of hitters with varying skill level. But whether in the short-season leagues or Savannah, Beaulac's adjustments were clear.
"I think I got wiser as a pitcher. I realized I didn't have to blow it by every batter I faced. I made an effort through the year instead to pitch to contact and do a good job of that after college where I was striking most guys out," he explained.
After 22.2 innings pitched in Brooklyn and Kingsport combined, Beaulac knew when he got to Savannah he would have to put his newfound approach into action. Against a higher class of hitters, he centered his game plan on throwing down in the strike zone and creatively mixing his repertoire.
"I really need to keep working on attacking hitters down and force them to beat me with all my pitches, but they have to be quality pitches," he said.
"I want to force contact and pitches and force the batter to beat himself. I don't need to strikeout every batter, just get them out in the most efficient way.
The rookie right-hander held his own while with the Sandgnats as he posted a 3.55 ERA in six starts and held the opposition to a .239 batting average. Allowing 18 walks in that span was a sore spot for Beaulac, but it taught him a lesson about pitching at this level.
"The hitters [in the South Atlantic League] are smarter and definitely more patient," he said. "They know to sit on fastballs in fastball counts and they do all the little things that turn at-bats into battles and really grind you out."
Beaulac was able to survive so deep into his rookie season due to surprising velocity down the stretch. Though he was nagged by the tired arm many young pitchers face, his fastball maintained its pop as he sat 92-94 MPH in his final start. But as he looks again, the strength of his changeup will be a primary focus.
Heading into Instructs, Beaulac set on that task, but a case of pneumonia has kept him out of the first week of camp. Nonetheless, when he does get back on the mound, he will continue working on the pitch coaches targeted all summer.
"All the coaches I worked with focused on my changeup and really got me a lot more comfortable with the pitch this year. I've been throwing it more often, so that really brought it along."
"But I'm going to keep working on my changeup. I want to have more consistency and confidence with my changeup so all I can do is throw and throw it some more until I really get a feel for it. I just have to get comfortable with it," he closed.
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