Scouting Mets Prospect #35: Eric Beaulac

Beaulac put together an impressive second season

There are always questions about how a pitcher will adapt to the full season leagues. The answers came quickly for Eric Beaulac who had a very strong season in Savannah in 2009. A tall right-hander with a very tough slider, Beaulac was consistent and at times overpowering in the South Atlantic League. Now he wants to keep the momentum heading into next season.

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Vital Statistics
Name: Eric Beaulac
DOB: November 13, 1986
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 200
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: 9th Round (2008) – Le Moyne

Eric Beaulac had simple goals when he showed up for his second season in the organization: to elevate his game for success in full-season ball. He got a taste of what was to come after making six starts in Savannah in 2008, but he wanted to accomplish more to make his sophomore season an impactful one. Therefore, he arrived in spring training eager to mature his approach.

"It all started in spring training by not trying to overdo everything. In college, I tried to throw every pitch as hard as I could," said Beaulac. "I learned that I could take something off my fastball and then pump it up when I needed to. That's what we were taught during spring training. It was the mindset of taking it easy on the mound and taking it one pitch at a time."

"I found that I didn't need to throw as hard as I could at the level I was at. The hitters weren't hitting it and there's no need for me to touch 93 if guys weren't hitting the lower velocity," he continued. "As the levels go up, I'm sure I'll have to put more on my fastball, but it all depends on the hitter, who I'm facing and where I'm at. "

Beaulac used that approach to put together a consistent 2009 season. He had his battles, but the right-hander nearly matched his ERA in both halves of the season, posting a 2.92 ERA in 13 outings before the All-Star Break and a 2.97 ERA in 13 appearances after.

His biggest hurdle came in June. After a stumbling a bit in May, Beaulac accepted a temporary shift to the bullpen. There he was able to focus on his mechanics without the added work of game planning for a start. He was excellent during the stint, surrendering just one earned run in 17 innings with 20 strikeouts and four walks. He acknowledged that the breather in the bullpen was very beneficial to the rest of his season.

"That played a big part in me being able to finish the year strong. Coach Valdes did a great job. He was the mastermind behind all of that, doing bullpens and watching pitch count. I credit him and Rick Waits a lot in what they've done to help my process to hopefully become a big league pitcher," Beaulac detailed.

In the end, Beaulac posted solid numbers across the board. A 7-7 record, 2.95 ERA in 116 innings with 133 strikeouts and 41 walks, and a positive month spent at the Dominican instructional league, has the right-hander excited about the season that was and what lies ahead.

"My goal coming in was that I really wanted to open some eyes and make a name for myself. I think I accomplished that this year by my demeanor and the way I go about things. I worked hard, played hard, and I think I did well this year," he closed.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2009

Savannah

7-7

2

116.0

110

41

133

2.95

2008

Savannah

1-2

0

25.1

22

18

31

3.55

2008

Kingsport

1-0

0

19.0

15

6

23

1.89

2008

Brooklyn

0-0

0

3.2

1

2

6

9.82



Repertoire: Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball: Beaulac pitches aggressively with his fastball with some deceiving pop as he comes over the top with good extension that makes his wide ranging velocity more effective. His velocity sat anywhere from 87-93 MPH, but Beaulac is still learning when to dial it up or reel back it depending on at-bats and situations. When he really lets it go, he can pitch at 91-93 MPH but this season opted to pitch a few ticks lower, 89-91, to pitch with more command. When he overthrows his fastball, his command breaks down and often leaves it over too much of the plate. His fastball does not have much movement which makes command imperative.

Other Pitches: Beaulac relies most on his low-80s slider. His slider has sharp movement with late break down through the strike zone. It is a near plus pitch that is an effective put away pitch and was his main weapon to rack up the organizational high in strikeouts in 2009. He demonstrated better command of the pitch year over year. When he does not stay on top of the slider, it comes out flat and becomes very hittable. However improved command and more consistent mechanics have lessened those miscues. His changeup is still a feel pitch at this point that lacks movement and one he is still learning to command. He throws it 78-81 MPH but more often it comes out of his hand like a slower edition of his fastball.

Pitching: Beaulac attacks the strike zone with his fastball/slider combination, but demonstrated greater pitchability later in the season by forcing himself to use his changeup. He showed the willingness to use his changeup early in the count to set up his fastball and use his slider as his out pitch. Beaulac did a better job repeating his delivery this season which improved his overall command, but there are a lot of moving parts in his delivery. If one part of his motion breaks down, the result is pitches up in the zone. He has a high leg kick which he uses to synchronize his delivery.

Projection: Beaulac spent the entire season as a 22-year-old in the South Atlantic League, but being the product of a small college means it could take a bit longer for him to reach his full potential. His slider was more than enough to work over Sally League hitters, but his below average changeup could run him into trouble as a starter at the higher levels. Given his good athleticism, size and extension, the organization will stick with him in the rotation for now. But, his fastball/slider combination, and the lack of changeup development, speaks more to a bullpen arm. How he handles the move to the Florida State League next season will weigh heavily on his ultimate role.

ETA: 2012. Beaulac spent the season in Savannah after it was expected he would go to St. Lucie in 2009. Instead, he will go to St. Lucie in 2010 which pushes his arrival back by one year. From there, he could move quicker especially if/when he moves to the bullpen in the future, making the second half of 2012 possible.

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