SF Giants top prospects: No. 16 — RHP Tristan Beck
Highest Level: High-A (San Jose)
Acquired: Trade (2019)
Future-Value Grade: 40+
Tristan Beck was a candidate to be a top-five pick in the 2018 draft entering his final year at Stanford. Shoulder injuries and inconsistency ultimately derailed his season, and his stock plummeted. Atlanta ended up drafting him in the fourth-round and enticing him to turn pro with an above-slot bonus.
Given the risks with shoulder injuries, Atlanta was especially cautious with Beck’s development. As a result, he has yet to pitch above the High-A level, despite turning 24 last June. With that said, it was still a boon for the Giants to acquire Beck at the 2019 trade deadline.
Prior to the deadline, Beck posted a 5.65 ERA with Atlanta’s High-A affiliate, but his peripherals (9.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 3.07 FIP, and 2.93 xFIP) suggested he had been a victim of bad luck. After joining the Giants High-A affiliate, Beck maintained his peripheral success from earlier in the season while also seeing more tangible results.
Beck’s fastball sits between 90-94 mph, and his curveball has looked like a plus pitch since high school. At his peak in college, his fastball routinely sat in the mid-90s and approached triple-digits. While he has yet to regain that consistent form, he began touching 97 mph again throughout 2019.
Beck followed up his strong close to the season with an impressive performance at the Arizona Fall League. Beck posted a respectable 3.63 ERA and struck out 23 batters in 22.1 innings against just 7 walks. Heading into 2020, Beck was slated to start the season at Double-A and had an outside shot at making his MLB debut by the end of the year. With an invitation to big-league camp this year, he could be a sleeper to finish the season in San Francisco’s rotation.
It’s still difficult to project Beck going forward. His extensive injury history already complicates matters, and his erratic velocity leaves room to dream. Even without premium velocity, he has a potential plus curveball and league-average changeup. Those secondary pitches should be enough to be an effective back of the rotation arm with a low-90s heater. Given his injury history and the evolution of pitching staff, he could be the perfect fit for a short-starter role that limits him to 125 innings or so a season too.