Why Tyler Beede is the X-Factor for the SF Giants in 2022
Beede enters the 2022 season with as much promise as well as questions with his role in the big-league roster. With the Giants signing three rotation pieces before the lockout, it leaves a hole for another spot in the starting rotation. While the consensus and the vibe are that the Giants are not done in terms of adding pieces via free agency (as they should) including in the rotation. There are still a plethora of free agents available that the Giants might pursue in the rotation such as Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon. However, if Beede can improve in terms of consistency in 2022, the Giants could just slot him in the rotation if he returns spectacular results coming out of Spring Training and not exactly buy a full-pledged starter like Kershaw and take their chances on bargain finds like a Brett Anderson. If he can't make it in the rotation, Beede could prove himself as a valuable reliever as well with the Giants fielding what they called "bullpen games" last season. Beede can slot himself as their sixth starter and could prove himself as a valuable innings-eater regardless.
Based on the film study, it is clear that the stuff is still there post-Tommy John surgery. The four-seam fastball velocity is still there and might even be harder than ever. The feel for the curveball and the changeup were there as well. However, it was possibly Beede's best outing in terms of strike-throwing. At his worst, Beede has a little feel of all his pitches, his fastball included, and he can't easily blow by hitters or utilize his repertoire if he cannot locate his stuff in the strike zone. Even at his best, his feel for his off-speed pitches is still very inconsistent and an area that he should improve the most. Also, his slider did not look impressive unlike his curveball and changeup, and needed much improvement. The movement profile last season came from an extremely small sample size that might not do the overall stuff that I saw from him in Sacramento justice but Beede still has the stuff.
Everything hinges on what kind of Beede shows up when Spring Training comes around. If the Beede of 2021, the Beede where his control coming out of Tommy John surgery is below-average at best, then we have a problem and Beede might need to prove his worth in Sacramento or become a casualty of the 40-man crunch. On the other hand, if Beede turns up in Arizona with a much-improved control, particularly his off-speed pitches, then the Giants might have an ace up their sleeve that should produce plenty of value in 2022. If the Giants get the better Beede, that's their X-factor. If not, he will forever live in the shadow of his fellow 2014 draftmate and now-staff ace Logan Webb.