Fresh off of a bounce back season in Double-A Richmond, and a stellar spring training, the San Francisco Giants are as high as they have ever been on their number one ranked prospect Tyler Beede.
The 2014 first round draft pick has ascended rather quickly through the minor league system and is slated to pitch for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats in 2017. Here is what the San Francisco Giants need to see out of Tyler Beede this season.
Beede has been rather successful at every level he has pitched in since the San Francisco Giants drafted him 14th overall out of Vanderbilt in 2014.
He has a fastball that consistently sits in the low-to-mid-90’s, and can even touch 97 late in games.
Beede also throws a changeup, which is his most consistent and effective off-speed pitch, a cutter, and a curveball, which is also effective but he struggles to command it at times.
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His main cause of concern coming out of college has been his accuracy; evident by his 4.66 BB/9 rate spanning three years at Vanderbilt.
Beede began his professional career competing in the Arizona Fall League, where he went 0-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts. He had a K/9 rate of 11.42 and pitched well enough to finish the season in Short Season Salem-Keizer.
There he was impressive as well, posting a 2.70 ERA and a K/9 of 9.45 in 6.2 innings, spanning over two starts.
After a successful rookie campaign, the Giants urged Beede to throw more two-seam fastballs and cutters in 2015, rather than relying too heavily on his fastball, according to Baseball America.
This would prove to be successful as Beede had a phenomenal season in High Class-A San Jose. In nine starts he went 2-2 with a 2.24 ERA and had a WHIP of 1.15.
Some noticeable differences in his numbers since altering his pitch selection were his K/9 and BB/9. In San Jose he struck out 6.36 batters per nine innings, over five less than in rookie ball and three less than in Salem-Keizer. He also walked the fewest amount of batters in his career, only walking 1.55 per nine innings.
This is just what the Giants were looking for out of Beede mechanically. His success in San Jose led to his promotion to Double-A Richmond.
However, he was unable to replicate the success he endured in San Jose. In fact, he struggled mightily in Richmond, going 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA in 13 starts.
In 72.1 innings, the right-handed hurler walked 35 batters, which translates to 4.35 per nine innings and had a WHIP of 1.34.
He only gave up 62 hits, which is encouraging, but it was obvious that fatigue was a factor in Beede’s decline in production.
By the end of the year Beede, who normally sits in the low-to-mid 90’s range, was only throwing in the high 80’s/low 90’s.
It is common for prospects to wear out by the end of the season, especially since Beede threw a career high (to that point) 124.2 innings in 2015.
Looking to get back on track and replicate some of his early success in 2015, 2016 was a bounce back year for Beede. Once again pitching in Double-A Richmond, Beede went 8-7 with a 2.81 ERA in 24 starts.
He threw a career high 147.1 innings, struck out 135 batters, and only walked 3.24 batters per nine innings — over a batter less than the previous year.
Not only that, but he was a mid-season all-star, and won the ERA title for the Eastern League.
It is no question that the expectations for Beede will be high in 2017.
So far, the 23-year-old has embarked on an impressive spring training showing. In five games he has made one start, has pitched 9.1 innings, and has gone 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA.
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Opponents have hit .303 off of him this spring, but his ERA indicates that he is able to pitch through the pressure and get the outs that he needs to avoid any damage.
He is slated to make one more start against Oakland before beginning the 2017 season in Triple-A Sacramento.
Although his next start will be part of an exhibition game, it will be unlike any start he has made thus far, it will be in the home of thousands of Giants fans — AT&T Park.
Giants fans should be excited to watch Beede pitch at AT&T Park, but should refrain from getting overly eager.
In order for Beede to progress optimally, it is important for him to get his reps in Triple-A. He may have fixed his mechanical flaws from Double-A, but it remains to be seen how it will translate in his first taste of the Pacific Coast League — a hitter’s league.
If Beede can take the success he has accumulated this spring, along with being able to maintain control of all his pitches, he will without a doubt have an impressive season.
He may only be a prospect, but he has the persona of a poised veteran. From the way he looks on the mound, to the statements he makes to the media, Beede carries himself highly and is always looking for ways to improve.
“I think changing eye levels, making sure you’re throwing to all four quadrants,” Beede said about his improvement. “It’s something I learned from Bumgarner and it’s something that I’ve tried to implement into my games and to bullpens and understanding when you’re changing eye levels as well as changing speeds it’s just as effective.”
I believe it truly is important for Beede to pitch the entire 2017 season in Sacramento from a developmental standpoint.
It is important to gather that experience and be able to progress, rather than being rushed to the big leagues to fill a hole in the roster.
Especially with his history of control issues, it would be beneficial for Beede to have the time to continue fixing these, and help develop his off-speed pitches further.
I would much rather see Beede have a stellar year in Triple-A and have Matt Cain or Ty Blach do a serviceable job in the fifth spot in the rotation, than have them struggle immensely and force the Giants to call up Beede and risk hindering his development.
If anything, let him pitch the duration of the season in Triple-A and potentially bring him up in September if needed, and if his inning count is not too high.
In the meantime though, it is exciting to cover a prospect like Tyler Beede. Not only is he a first round draft pick, or a rapper in his spare time (yes, he really is, and he’s not bad), he is also an extremely talented pitcher who has great potential.
He is the number one ranked prospect in the Giants organization and the 88th prospect in baseball. There is no doubt that fans are eager to see him pitch for the orange and black one day, but let’s not rush it.