Sometimes the road back to the Major Leagues can be daunting. Many Independent baseball players find themselves sharing that road, hoping that they outperform their fellow players to reach their destination first.
Blake Beavan, however, is on a different path when compared to others. His journey began as a top flight high school pitching prospect that eventually was a high first round pick, but in baseball nothing ever happens like it does in the movies.
Beavan, 27, is from Irving, Texas, the birthplace that has produced many flamethrowers: i.e., Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, and Nathan Evoldi.
Beavan scoped out many high-end pitchers during his amateur career. “(I watched) Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan just because they were big names in Texas,” Beavan said, “but to be honest, I didn’t try to mimic or copy any one pitcher. I more so looked up to my brothers and my coach who helped me with the success that I have today.”
Beavan began playing baseball around the age of six or seven years old. He credits having his family around him, especially his brothers, to jump starting his development as a pitcher and a human being.
“My brother played college ball, so I basically grew up around a baseball field,” Beavan stated when speaking about his two older brothers. “Both of my brothers being eleven and thirteen years older than me, allowed me to see the professional atmosphere quickly.”
Beavan also had some athletic parents who played sports. His dad was a former college baseball player. Mom was also a good athlete. Their commitments and attitudes to their respective sports are reflected in Blake’s transition to the diamond.
Beavan’s close family ties are evident, especially when he refers to his brothers. He credits them for his growth into becoming the person and player he is today. “My brothers helped me with life,” Beavan said with strong emotion. “They showed me how to handle myself in mature stature, how to respect the game, always working with me on and off the field.”
“No matter if it was hitting more or soft toss at home, or throwing to them in the driveway, pitching, they were twenty- four- seven trying to get me as much prepared as they could.”
All that hard work with his brothers led to an outstanding pitcher in high school throwing for his high school team in Irving.
Blake enjoyed a stellar high school career. As a freshman in 2004, he was identified as an all-district player. In 2006, while tossing a 0.36 earned run average, he led Irving to their first playoff since 1999. He concluded his high school career in 2007 by pitching a perfect game and was named Texas High School Player of the Year.
“I’ve definitely come a long way since then. I won’t lie to you. I was a little bit of a hot head in high school,” Beavan admitted. “I played with a certain swagger and I felt like I needed to play with that sort of confidence in order to help my teammates rise up.”
That swagger was tested during that perfect game his senior year. “It’s something you don’t forget no matter what level you’re at,” Beavan stated. “There was one play in between first and second that was hit slowly. The first baseman ran over, the second baseman went to cover first, and I fielded the ball. The first baseman missed it and the second baseman covered first.”
“ I threw it high and almost overshot our second baseman, but he managed to get the ball when he jumped and with the force of gravity, as he was coming down, he dragged his toe on the bag.”
Beavan’s remarkable amateur career stood out to major league scouts, specifically the Texas Rangers. They drafted him as their seventeenth overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft.
“It was the happiest moment of my life to get drafted, because as a kid, that’s what I wanted to be and do,” Beavan proudly stated. “I remember writing my dad a Father’s Day card when I was seven, telling him that I would be a professional baseball player one day.”
“My family sacrificed everything they could in order to help me achieve my dream, and at the end of the day, I couldn’t have done it without God and my faith.”
That faith would be tested however, when Beavan, along with Justin Smoak and two other prospects, were traded to the Mariners as part of the Cliff Lee trade back in 2010.
“At the time it was frustrating, because I got drafted by Texas which was another dream come true, being drafted by your hometown team and only fifteen minutes away from Arlington,” Beavan remarked.
“I remember the trade happening. I was in Triple A. I just got there. It was bitter sweet because I didn’t want to be traded, but when I got to Seattle I got my opportunity and I’ll always be thankful to Seattle for giving me that chance.”
During his time in Seattle, Blake was teammates with “King Felix” Felix Hernandez. Beavan had nothing but praise for the ace of the Mariners.
“ He is a special man; he’s one of those guys who takes his profession to the next level and that’s why he is a superstar,” Beavan stated categorically. “ The work he puts in between starts, bullpens, and getting himself mentally ready separates him from 99 percent of the other guys.”
As a “team-first” classy type of guy, Hernandez helped Beavan as a rookie. “I had to pay clubhouse dues on the road and at home, and they were pretty expensive,” Beavan expressed. “Felix took care of all my clubhouse dues my first three months. That really showed me who the ace of the staff and the leader of the team was.”
Beavan’s time in Seattle was a bit of a struggle with a 16-20 win loss record, 4.61 earned run average. He pitched 293 combined innings averaging 4.2 strikeouts per nine innings. During this time he struggled with shoulder problems, which led to his eventual release by the Mariners in 2014. Blake then bounced to Arizona in December of 2014 and was released by the Diamondbacks on July 13, 2015.
While the path for Beavan isn’t what he envisioned, he still is as positive and has a similar swag to the one he had while pitching in Irving, Texas.
Two philosophies have stayed with Beavan throughout his baseball career. “Nothing is a coincidence when you’re put around certain people for a reason.” Also, “You will run into certain things in life that come out a different way, but in the end they will make you a better person as a result.”
At the heart and soul of Blake Beavan is his family and his belief in his faith. They lie at the core of this talented pitcher who carries a dream that he has had since childhood. It’s one that many fathers have shared. As Beaven told his dad so many years ago, he intends to play major league baseball. Let’s hope Blake’s Father’s Day dream comes true!
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