Through Jeff Beliveau‘s first year and a half with the Tampa Bay Rays, it looked like he was always going to be their 8th bullpen guy. Beliveau would sit at Triple-A, coming up if they need an extra arm for a day or two, and then he would go right back to Triple-A. In fact as of July 20th, Beliveau had seen 8 stints with the Rays and had thrown just 2.2 innings.
But then everything changed for Beliveau. He was recalled on July 22nd when Joel Peralta hit the DL, but it seemed this would be another short stint for the left-hander. But then Beliveau just kept sticking on the roser. First he retained a role over veteran Juan Carlos Oviedo, and then the Rays designated Erik Bedard for assignment rather than send Beliveau back to the minors. Then the Rays didn’t acquired another reliever at the trade deadline, and all of a sudden Beliveau finally had an extended shot in the big leagues.
But still, you had to wonder if Beliveau was a long-term piece in the bullpen, or if he simply was going to be a stopgap until one of the Rays’ more touted relief prospects was ready for duty. So far, Beliveau is doing everything he can to ensure he sticks around. Through 19 appearances and 18.2 innings with the Rays this year, Beliveau has posted a 1.92 ERA, a 9.2 K/9, and a 2.9 BB/9. He has also held lefties to a meager .148/.258/.296 line, though he has done a decent job against righties too, as they are hitting .248/.304/.268 against him.
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Beliveau’s upside of a lefty specialist or middle reliever hasn’t changed, as his stuff is simply not good enough to stick in the late innings. That said, he has a chance to be continue being very good at that role moving forward. Beliveau has always dominated lefties; in the minor leagues since 2011 lefties have hit just .192/.247/.255 against him. Having that type of reliever in your bullpen can give you plenty of value, and that is why he could turn into a long-term piece in the bullpen. Just think, having Beliveau around to get a key out against a lefty in the 6th or 7th inning ensures that the Rays could save Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee for the 8th and 9th.
Jeff Beliveau’s solid performance in the big leagues this season means that he could become a long-term part of the Rays’ bullpen. No, he doesn’t have the upside of a guy like C.J. Riefenhauser that is sitting at Triple-A, but he does have the ability to be a very good lefty specialist, and that makes him a valuable player. Only time will tell if he is able to stick around with the team longer than just a few months, but so far Beliveau is making the most of his opportunity.