The San Francisco Giants camp has been buzzing about Tyler Beede this spring. Beede had a rough 2018. In his brief stint in the majors he got knocked around and struggled with command, then when he got sent back down to Triple A where he got knocked around and struggled with command.
The tough 2018 forced Tyler Beede to re-evaluate his approach during the offseason. That emotional maturity and self-awareness has led to Beede becoming one of, if not the best storyline so far in Spring Training.
I know it’s only spring and you shouldn’t put too much stock in spring performances, but I’m really bored and have nothing better to do. So, I’m just going to go ahead and obsess over all of the little things because THAT IS ALL I HAVE RIGHT NOW!
Andrew Baggarly had a great interview with Tyler Beede regarding Beede’s off-season work and how he has been utilizing data and analysis to make improvements. After his struggles in 2018, Beede was willing to make drastic changes to his approach and his mechanics in order to get back to the big leagues and excel. When asked about his past success as a sinker-slider pitcher in the lower minor leagues and how it didn’t translate to success at higher levels, Beede’s most illuminating quote about it was:
"“Right, my first year in pro ball, that was exactly what I did: want to have quick innings, quick games and go through seven innings. So it worked. I mean, I think it allowed me to mature and find a delivery and a mindset. But that’s not how the game’s going and it’s just not the type of pitcher I am. I’m a high-velocity, four-seam guy and you want to throw the curveball off that with the changeup, which I want to use as much as possible because it’s my best pitch.”"
This quote reveals a lot about Beede and a lot about the current state of the game in regards to pitchers attacking hitters.
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Firstly, it shows that Beede is coachable. Baseball can be very rigid and players can be very resistant to making changes to the things that got them to the professional ranks. Clearly, Tyler Beede had higher ambitions.
He wants to be in the Major Leagues and he wants to excel. In order to do that, Beede had to throw away some old notions he had of the game, while having the physical capabilities to make those changes, and the self-awareness to get out of his own way.
Secondly, it shows his awareness that working low in the strike zone with sinkers and sliders may not be his best option for attacking hitters.
In order to combat launch angles and hitters trying to elevate the ball, pitchers are attacking them with high velocity up in the zone. Beede has altered his repertoire and delivery to accommodate that.
With new resolve and the motivation to put the 2018 season behind him, Tyler Beede overhauled his mechanics and re-designed some of his pitches. Below is a series of tweets I posted analyzing Beede’s 2018 mechanics against his current mechanics in his last outing against the Reds on Friday Night.
You can see he’s found a way to simplify his mechanics by reducing movement and getting on a better plane to attack the upper half of the zone with his high velocity fastball. Beede has been impressive this spring and hopefully he can carry this into the regular season. There’s a good chance that he will start the season in Triple A since he has options and the Giants would like to see him repeat this success in a more competitive setting.
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Furthermore, Beede needs to prove he can maintain this output over the course of 5-7 innings if he remains a starter. However, early signs are encouraging and Beede has been incredibly fun to watch so far this spring. Hopefully he keeps this up or I’ll feel really stupid for writing this and making all those gifs.