Bean Still Seeking Opportunity In The Bronx
"All I can do is keep working on what I need to down here and hope for the best," said Colter Bean.
Standing at 6'6, 225 lbs and signed as a non-drafted free agent by New York on May 30, 2000, Bean has been simply a force, both in the season opener as well as in his five previous seasons. Bean has a career record of 27-18 along with 16 saves and a 2.69 ERA. If you need an out, more specifically a strikeout, Bean is your guy.
Along with 100 more strikeouts than innings pitched, Bean has a 3-to-1 strikeout ratio in this, his sixth minor league season. Prior to being recalled by the Yankees last year, Bean was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 14K, and 1BB in 8.1 IP. He has been the true definition of a workhorse as he set a Clippers single season record with 65 appearances in 2005.
Neil Allen, pitching coach of the Clippers, said that consistency could be the key into the time frame it will take for Bean to once again pitch in the big leagues. He could very well be right, especially with the lackluster string of performances we have seen from the Yankee bullpen dating back to the end of last year.
Should he be given the opportunity, could Bean have the same impact on the Yankee bullpen as Chien-Ming Wang had on the starting rotation? Nobody can determine that to this point, however, but it's definitely on the radar. The experience Bean has, as little as it may be, of playing in New York could loom large as all it takes is one injury in the Yankee bullpen for Bean to be headed east.
"His name is on the map and they think a lot of him. It's just a matter of consistency and getting yourself back in the big leagues," said Allen.
The ultimate goal for Bean is to play consistently in New York, which explains his desire to improve every trip he makes to the ballpark. When you're a minor league pitcher, improvement must remain your ultimate focus.
It's a tough thing to be as close as Bean is to the big leagues and still have the toughness to have the ability to block everything out except the job you must do to improve. Bean refuses to let the thought of pitching in New York cause a distraction to the job he must do in Triple A Columbus.
Bean said that worrying about the big leagues was a frequent occurrence as a younger player. Naturally, this is simply an adjustment a player early in their career is held responsible for. Maturation is an ingredient of the progress a player in the minors must comprehend.
After a season or two, simply knowing that you're a professional is not going to cut it and is no longer an option. Focusing on the task at hand while making consistent strides is what a pitcher like Colter Bean must have his eyes set on.
If you asked Bean what he thought he needed to improve on the most you would receive the exact answer every time.
"I need to work on everything because you always have room to improve. That's what I like to concentrate on," said Bean.
Most pitchers will admit they have a pitch they would throw in almost any situation they may encounter. Bean would throw his slider, if given the opportunity, in any count to any hitter. Whether you're a so-called power or finesse pitcher, you need to have the ability to deliver a pitch that you know gives consistent confidence in any situation. Bean is no exception.
Mitch Jones, right-fielder for the Clippers, claims that Bean is improving everyday and his reward will be coming in pinstripes sooner rather than later.
"I've played with Colter for three or four years now coming up through the minor leagues and he continues to make strides," Jones told us. "He's worked on his game and the improvements are evident."
Colter Bean is a name that many fans are unaware of. However, it may be just a matter of time before they are begging for his autograph. It is very well possible that Colter Bean will not be in the Bronx this season, however, that will not falter the progress Bean has the opportunity to make.
Relief pitchers you can count on are far less common than you might think and Bean has the potential to become part of the minority.
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