Friday, June 06, 2014

Your 2014 Giants First Round Pick: RHP Young Beedah

The Giants select RHP Tyler Beede from Vanderbilt.  So the closest I got to calling it was that I was right that it was a pitcher.  And that is OK, this was just a fun exercise to go through each year, the Giants just go their own way most of the time, they are too hard to read in terms of the draft, so all you can do is play along.  "Young Beedah", by the way, is his rap name, as he likes to rap some in his spare time.  Look out Vanilla Ice!

I was dismayed initially by that pick because I had read some negative stuff about Beede, which was from people from his school.  Then, thinking about it afterward, while shopping (I guess it cleared my head), I remembered that there were Giants fans who wanted to trade Cain because "he's a loser," so I resolved to have an open mind, as I usually do after a Giants first round draft pick, and see what I can find out about our draft selection.  My research follows.

ogc thoughts

Well, I really did want a pitcher.  Our pitching staff is starting to get old.  Soon, all our starters except for Bumgarner, will be over 30, in the danger zone where career declines can suddenly appear for some.  Even our relievers are pretty old themselves.  We need some young blood coming in, and our first round picks are our best bullets to adding another young stud to our pitching staff.

Of course, if Beede does end up being a reliever, that would feel like a major disappointment, unless he's a shut-down closer or key set-up man even.  But that is the way it is with draft picks, even #14 draft picks, my study of the draft found that under roughly 20% of the draft picks from 6-20 end up being a good player, and slightly more turn out to be useful (i.e. relievers, key bench players).  Some might think "#14 should be good", but not really, not in the history of the draft.

With the 14th pick in the draft, only 9 of the 49 picks have generated at least 18.0 WAR in their careers (And I included Jose Fernandez in there because he looks like he should reach that easily.   That's slightly under 20%.  Right now, I'm defining useful as 9-18 WAR as useful (still working on my definitions for my next, updated study), and that works out to 4 out of 49 picks (that's why I covered a range of 6-20 in my study, I classified each pick at the border to see which group it belonged to, because otherwise, the numbers will jump around due to randomness).  2 out of the 49 picks were what I call marginal players, generating less than 9 WAR but more than 3 WAR.  That leaves 34, or a vast majority, who either has not played in the majors or not played that much in the majors, with four of them still working their way up the ladder still, but have had poor starts to their pro careers so far (contrast that with what is usually quoted by draft analysts, which is that 34 of the 49, or 69%, have played in the majors).  So you need to have low expectations for the draft pick from the get-go, even as you are dreaming of what he might become.

For now, here is some vital stats.  He's 6-foot-4, 215-pound RHP, so pretty good size for a pitcher.  He was actually drafted, and pretty highly (21st overall, so he moved up), when he came out of high school, but he turned down $2.5M bonus back then to go to school instead.  So he went to Vanderbilt instead.

At Vanderbilt, he was wild.  He had 5.2 BB/9 in his sophomore year, with 2.10 ERA, but dropped it to 3.9 BB/9 this season, though with a higher 3.20 ERA.  He gave up a lot more hits in 2013, but it's all relative:  rose from 5.4 H/9 to 6.8 H/9, which is still looks pretty good.  More importantly, his K/BB rose from 1.8 to 2.5 (generally over 2 is good in pros, but not sure about college), as his K/9 went up from 9.2 to 9.7.  His BABIP, whatever that means in college baseball, was .242 in 2013 and rose to .290 in 2014.

There were some mocks that had the Giants selecting him but which got changed later on, Baseball America early on for one.  Perfect Games actually nailed it and was the only one to have mocked him to the Giants with their final one.

His coach at Vanderbilt has this to say on his profile:
COACH CORBIN QUOTE: Love the way he has developed his leadership skills and developed as a man. Tyler has a very good understanding of `team' and the building of individual relationships. He is very respected by his teammates for his servant behavior, the effort he puts toward other players and his investment level into the game.
That fits in with what the Giants FO seems to look for, when possible, good leadership skills, good maturity, good team player.  I'm not sure what he meant by "servant" behavior though.  Sounds like "subservient" to me, which is usually a negative, but the coach definitely used it in a positive way here.

Alex Pavlovic reported some bits of info (most highlights going forward are mine):
  • Appears part of the reason for the pick is closeness to majors:  Barr said, “He’s someone who, I hate to set timetables on, has a chance of moving quickly.”
  • On the MLB Network broadcast, he got comps to Matt Harvey and Sonny Gray, which are pretty good comps.  Gray apparently is also from Vanderbilt and he moved pretty quickly too.  
Hank Schulman reported some bits of info as well:
Just spoke with John Barr, the Giants’ point man in the draft, and he said they’ve got Beede clocked as high as 96 with an impressive curve and will mix in an effective changeup. Barr said the Giants have followed Beede since high school and commended the kid’s confidence and courage for deciding to reject a big bonus out of high school to pitch in college. 
“He’s gotten more physical, stronger and continued to progress,” Barr said. “The velocity of his fastball and breaking stuff have continued to be crisper in his development.” 
Regarding Beede’s numbers slipping from his sophomore to junior years, Barr said, “From a record standpoint, but everybody’s different. When we look at numbers . . . we felt like he improved some on his command. But we also know that there’s also so much more. It’s a good arm and athletic player and hard working player. We think the combination will be a postive.”
Here is what noted:
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 60 
Beede figures to become just the 18th player selected in the first round of two different June Drafts. Picked 21st overall out of a Massachusetts high school in 2011, he opted to attend Vanderbilt, where he led NCAA Division I with a school-record 14 victories and was one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award last spring. 
When Beede is at his best, he can display three above-average pitches. His fastball usually operates around 92-94 mph and can clock as high as 97. His sharp curveball and his changeup both arrive in the low 80s, playing off his fastball well. 
The biggest question with Beede is whether he'll be able to harness his quality stuff. His delivery can get out of sync. He can be unhittable but also has problems finding the strike zone. 
(Note:  Players are graded on a 20-80 scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average).
Wow, so he's rated an above average overall pitcher by (Mayo and Callis I assume).  His fastball is above average, his curveball is good, and changeup is average (and remember, average is good in the majors).  Where he is lacking is control, as shown by his high walk rate in college.  The Giants have had some success with taming pitchers, both Cain and Lincecum had reps for wildness prior to making the majors.

And we saw what happened when Bumgarner's delivery got all wonky, it was Tidrow to the rescue, and he helped Bumgarner (who later said that he didn't know before how to pitch well, he just did, that he learned how to repeat how to pitch well with the Giants coaching) become able to repeat his delivery.  So hopefully he can help Beede's delivery not get out of sync so much.  The key, obviously, is for him to learn how to repeat when he is unhittable and vastly reduce the times when he has problems finding the strike zone.

Here is what Kiley McDaniels had to say after the draft about Beede:
Beede was all over the map for teams leading up to the draft: he was a mid 1st rounder entering the spring, jumped into the top 10 early in the year, then fell to the back half of the first round as his command and makeup became real questions, then had a late surge as he hit 99 mph in his regional start. There's mid-rotation with some tweaks and maybe even frontline ability if the Giants development staff can get everything out of him.  
Draft Pick Allotment: $2.61 million
Projected Bonus: $2.50 million
OK, that makeup issue is probably what got Vanderbilt fans all riled up about Beede.  But all what one can hope for with their first round picks is that there is frontline ability, you want take a chance on the the good players coming through for you, through the player development funnel, most will fall out, but I think you have to take the risk for a topline starter, and while they didn't go the way I was hoping, with Touki, Beede seems to have the underlying ingredients to be a topline starter.  That's what any team picking in the top half of the first round should be shooting for.

Here is Baseball America's analysis of Beede before and after the draft, he was ranked 15th best overall before the draft in their Top 500 prospect ranking:
14. GIANTS:Pick: Tyler Beede, rhp, VanderbiltPick value: $2,613,200Area Scout: Andrew Jefferson 
Pick analysis: Beede began the season as the No. 3 college pitcher in the class but struggled with his control down the stretch, although he had one of the best starts of his career in his final outing before the draft. While his control has been his been the most deficient part of game up to this point, he is going to the right organization to help him harness his plus stuff. 
Scouting report: Beede was the fourth high school pitcher drafted in 2011, after Dylan Bundy, Archie Bradley and Jose Fernandez. The Blue Jays and Beede didn’t come to terms, though, with the Jays offering $2.4 million and Beede seeking $3 million or more. He headed to Vanderbilt and struggled as a freshman but seemed to put things together while earning Southeastern Conference pitcher of the year honors in 2013. Even in his 14-1, 2.32 season, Beede walked 5.6 per nine innings, and he had a rough summer with Team USA, with his delivery getting out of sync when he couldn’t find the strike zone. He has thrown more strikes this spring (3.3 BB/9) but has been more hittable, and scouts give him average control grades with below-average command. Nevertheless, Beede looks the part of a first-rounder at an athletic, powerful 6-foot-4, 215 pounds with a clean arm, and he flashes plus with three pitches. At times he pitches with a well above-average fastball, reaching 97 mph and sitting 92-94. His changeup has been his best secondary offering this spring, earning plus grades, and he throws one of the hardest curveballs in the draft at 80-81 mph, giving him a third plus pitch. Beede has a big personality and rap alter ego (Young Beedah) and was the life of Team USA’s clubhouse despite his struggles last summer. He’s a wild card in the first round whose last starts, particularly at the SEC tournament, will be watched closely as scouts look for signs of improved strike-throwing.
Now that is what I'm talking about:  plus stuff.  Similar type of discussion:  good quality pitches but his delivery gets out of sync, which leads to bouts of wildness.  I like to hear about stuff, pitchers with good stuff can strike out batters more easily, and that is the name of the game in the majors, striking out batters.

Perfect Game also ranked him 15th for the draft, and noted this in this short blurb from their mock draft, which they did mock him to the Giants:
Outside of Jeff Hoffman, there may not be any bigger wild card among the early picks of the draft. The Giants could be the beneficiary of that uncertainty, as no teams cultivates pitching as well as they do, and Beede has the pieces to be an ace if the parts come together for him.
Some more stuff about Beede becoming an ace, I like that!  PG also noted in an article that Beede was one of three college pitchers (including Rodon and Hoffman) who have the abilities to be the #1 college pitcher with a good spring.  Obviously, he didn't accomplish this, but this makes the pick make a lot more sense, in that the Giants, since Barr has taken over, seem to not hold it against any prospect at face value when they fail to do well in their junior year.

For example, Brandon Crawford was ranked Top 10 pre-season, but with a disappointing season, fell all the way back to later rounds where the Giants picked him up.   In addition, Susac and Osich was going to go higher but poorer performances led them to fall some in the draft as well.  The Giants under Barr looks for quality that is hidden by poor performances in their junior year, or at least poorer than expected.

Overall Thoughts

I can see why some observers were down on Beede.  He did not improve on this great sophomore season, and was expected to be one of the top college starters this season.  Instead, he disappointed against those expectations, which probably were made more loftier based on his 2.10 ERA and 14-0 record.  Having a 3.20 ERA and 8-7 record definitely look bad compared to that sterling sophomore year.  But looking at the stats for the conference, the main difference was that his BABIP was abnormally high last season and simply regressed to the mean this season (.298 BABIP in SEC this season).

And this season, looking at his peripherals, 9.7 K/9 ( conference average 7.0), 3.9 BB/9 (3.15), 2.46 K/BB (2.23 K/BB), which was still pretty good looking, just not as great as last season.

Although, like in other drafts, I was initially disappointed by the choice, probably because I was fan-boying on some guys I wanted to draft instead, Beede is what I would like to see with a draft pick this high in the first round.  I want a prospect who can be a frontline starter, a potential ace.  Leadership qualities is always a plus here.  I like a pitcher with strikeout ability, and he's much above average in his conference.

I'm not too worried about his wildness, walks are OK as long as his K/BB ratio is high enough to counter that.  Basically, the logic there is for every extra walk he may give up, because he strikes out so many, there is one less hit given up for each extra walk.  That's a good trade off anyday.

I like plus velocity and he's got some, regularly in the 92-94 MPH range, and sometimes higher, 97-99, which is good when you want to get a strikeout.  He's also got a plus changeup and curve, that's three plus pitches in his repertoire.  That's a great combination of pitches to have as a starter.

I also like the intangibles.  He has leadership qualities.   He's kind of a goofy fun clubhouse personality, which would fit in well with the Giants, and not necessarily other teams.  He's a hard worker, and that is a good quality to have in a player, those players have a great chance of developing and improving themselves.

I especially like his guts and commitment.  He turned down $2.5M when he was drafted out of high school in 2011, and there is no guarantee he'll ever get that much in 3 years, things happen.  This reminds me of Lincecum sticking to his guns when he asked for $1M from the Indians and they turned him down (if they hadn't, they would have had Tim, CC and Cliff Lee in their rotation).  You need some cojones to do that.

I'll end with a link to a good article someone shared on Shankbone's draft post, that discusses his background some, that amplifies on these intangibles (there is even a rap video Beede made, that is there).  It turns out that he's a coach's son, they seem to always be very good at the intangibles of baseball.  The Giants love ballplayers who are like that, whether through their father the coach or great coaching that they had:  Cain, Noonan, Posey, Panik, Arroyo, and now Beede, among others.  These guys require less coaching because they just know how to do things the right way.

And, WOW, and the decision to not sign was really not about money, but about what was right for him.   That takes even more cojones!   He knew what he wanted and he wasn't going to let money dictate that to him.  Listening to the song, he basically says he wants to be the best but he has a vision for himself, his decision to make and live with, that's very impressive to me!

So I like him, I like his chances a lot, he has a lot of good qualities that I would want in a pitching prospect, heck, in a baseball prospect.  Making the majors is majorly hard.  Failure as I showed above for picks #14 is the highest probability, yet some do make it and do well.  He has a lot of skills that the Giants should be able to develop and he is not deterred by hard work nor driven by money, it's better than that, he's driven internally to be the best that he can be, helping his team with leadership, all towards the goal of winning as a team.   There are many gauntlets a prospect must navigate to make the majors, and he had no problem with his controversial decision to opt out on $2.5M.

With him, we know that he'll be working hard no matter what is paid to him, and that really is the most we can ask of any prospect.   He has the skill set and the team will have their experts tune him up, particularly Tidrow.  So it is up to him to put in the work, not let the downs get to him (as we have seen with some Giants prospects who struggled with adversity), have a basic belief in his abilities to make the majors, then you play the games and you see what happens.   That maximizes his chances and minimizes the enormous risks we take with these young men picked in the draft.

So, regardless of who we could have selected instead, in focusing on simply what Beede is, I like that a lot and he has a lot of good qualities to him that will help him march through the baseball player development gauntlet.

I'll let Young Beedah take us out:


  1. Cove Chatter has a really nice and detailed run-down of all the picks so far to Round 10:

    I don't normally cover all the picks anyway and this is good as well as handy. I'll see if I do Round 2 and 3 like usual or not.

  2. Nice post. I'm still not a huge fan (And the Stanford game yesterday did nothing to sway my overall view on him), but I do think he is a high risk high reward pick, which is a good thing to do at the 14 spot.

    One thing that I've thought of: it does take huge balls to walk away from 2.5MM, its definitely a set apart type detail. Here's one counterpoint: he had bonus demands of 3-3.5MM depending on the source.

    I don't question the stuff as much as the consistency. I have a feeling that Giant fans will be wanting a stud to show up, and I'm not sure that is going to happen. I'm approaching this from the Vanderbilt perspective, because its one I'm familiar with. But I'm not denying he is a rare talent as far as his build, ability to throw the ball.

    I think Touki is going to be the pick of the draft, and I think in 5 years we'll look back and see this was a big mistake. Time will tell. Let's root hard for the white boy rapper.

    1. And I am a bit skeptical of the Giants ultimate pitcher's rep in the game. Yes, they have had huge wins. But to throw Dick Tidrow's name in a blanket statement is really lazy analysis to me.

      Tyler Beede: I bestow you the title of "Dick Tidrow's Greatest Project". Fare thee well!

    2. Thanks for the comment, Shankbone!

      I would add that now I don't have to chow through the BA 500 to see where the Giants picks fell, Shankbone did it in his comments here:

    3. I would still have preferred that they selected Touki or Holmes instead. So yeah, its on the Giants now. That's basically what I said when they selected Bumgarner rather than a hitter, as most of us wanted.

      And I guess I feel it more keenly this time because I am more aware of the alternatives.

      Maybe he might have been asking for more. Don't matter, he still turned down $2.5M. As one of the tweeters said, he could have been set for life with that type of money, money he wouldn't see if his body failed him, or if he didn't continue to develop.

      But I get it, money is not how he's defined by, I respect that. He was confident enough, not that he'll make that money anyway, but that he'll have a life worth living and enjoying, even if his arm blew out and he never pitched again.

      Yeah, his consistency will be the key to his making it in the pros. Yeah, fans in general will be expecting him to be a stud. As I tried to demonstrate above, very few turn out to be studs.

      And I do agree that Tidrow is no miracle master. At this point, I think whatever voodoo mojo the Giants have in their coaching staff they will need that to get Beede to reach his potential. But that is generally true with any of the guys drafted in the first round, from AFW to Cain to Lowry to Hennessey to Lincecum to Bumgarner to Wheeler to Stratton. We will have a lot of misses among those picks, that, as you have also shown on your blog, is just the bad side of the draft business that is so hard, drafting is hard, development is hard, making it in the majors is hard.

      Hopefully Beede is up to the task..

    4. We're looking at a 30-40% chance here, that's the historical approach. Pitchers tend to be more boom-bust as well, so it might be lower than a position player at this juncture.

      That's a great way to put it: its on the Giants now. Its a pretty stark black/white contrast. I've really liked their drafting since 2006 with very few exceptions. I think they take a world weary realistic approach to which tools work to make it in MLB. I think that is the key to why their drafts look so conservative a lot of the time.

      I'm going to start working on a draft review in the next couple of days. This is a nice landing spot - I hope people realize a live draft blog is a bit different than taking the time to sort your thoughts, make an analysis. Basically its pretty raw.

    5. Yeah, the drafting has been pretty good since 2006, with early huge hits helping to make the sting of later failures not so bad.

      Knowing how the Giants tend to be conservative in their description, and given how Barr took a teensy step to edge with Beede, I'm curious as to what were the official statements the Giants FO made in the aftermath of each #1 pick from, say, Lincecum on, have they varied with the talent selected, how many have they gone bold and made a statement, like they did with Bumgarner in that live interview (I wish they still did those, I liked the immediacy of hearing the GM speak on the prospect selected not that long afterward). Do you think that would be easy to research?

      I look forward to your draft review. As we all know, nothing definitive will be or could be said now, all we can say is what are the cards in the hand and where that might lead. I also think that most people know that a live draft blog is going to lead to raw emotional statements, I know for myself, from prior drafts and gut reactions, I tend to be like the general Giants fanbase and jump to conclusions and be angered by one thing or another (starting with Sabean's first big move Matty trade), but then in the aftermath, take a cool hard look and realize things aren't as bad as they seem.

      This post is the first step in that journey for me, I really wanted three other pitchers - Touki, Holmes, and Medeiros - and with two available, thought we were getting one, so disappointment was keen. But after reading about the pluses about Beede, I can accept that he's a pretty good prospect, and when it comes to picks even this high up the draft, there is still a huge element of rolling the dice on any particular prospect, and I just have to hope that whatever the Giants scouts saw in Beede, they can work with and develop into something good. At least they have good clay with which to work with, that's the first step.

  3. NIce writeup, ogc.

    Personally, I had Beede ranked in my top 5 overall draft prospects. My mock draft had him going to the Cubs at #4 and he's who they should have picked there.

    I also really like Touki Toussaint, and not just because he has an awesome name. I'm not convinced the D'Backs know how to develop a young pitching talent like that. I also liked Derek Hill a lot. I would have been very happy with those two at #14, but that does not mean I'm unhappy with Beede there. In fact, I never really seriously thought about Beede to the Giants because I figured he'd be long gone.

    As you said, there is always risk in draft picks and you can find things to freak out over in them all. I like to focus more on what they do well rather than what they don't do well, and Beede does a lot of things very well! I think Beede is a great choice. He could turn out to be the best MLB player in this draft!

    Another thought on Touki: There were some other teams who were thought to be in on him, Toronto most notably, who passed. That may or may not tell you something. Also, the Dodgers passed on Hill even though his pop is a scout for them.

    1. Thanks for the cogent comments.

      Yeah, to your point, I'm not unhappy about Beede. It could be a lot worse, like, to your point, with the Cubs. I like his skill set and potential too, and yeah, he could turn out to be the best in the draft.

      Yeah, I was one of those who thought that Toronto was in on him, the rumors was so strong, I was wrong, heck everyone was wrong he was available when we picked.

      What I read was that there might have been Touki asking for more money that could have pushed Toronto to not pursue him anymore. We won't really know if that is why they passed on him or if they really didn't think that much of him, unfortunately.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion.

    2. These are really good points. Touki passed by a lot of places I thought he would go: The Jays twice, half a glance to the Mets, the Brew-Crew who went with another high upside high risk guy with electric stuff instead, the Padres were supposed to be a stopping place, the Giants were mocked right before by last minute rumors (Callis/Mayo), and then he slipped two more.

      The Dodgers choose Grant Holmes over Derek Hill, hadn't thought about that too much either yet.

      At the end of the day, I think I would have been OK with Holmes, like it was the common sense pick to make, but not excited. I think the same could be said for Beede, I just fell into the trap of looking to HS prospects because I felt that was the strength of the draft.

      Stepping back, you can see there is a big chance for high upside here. And it is a classic Giants tactic of snagging the falling talent after seeing what he's done right. I do think Beede is going to be a project, in the same realm as Touki, who I looked at as a once in a 3-4 year guy.

      Top of the draft is interesting debate, and the Giants weren't really even in top of the draft, its just some potential for true impact talent is there this year. If we're lucky, and good, we don't get to have this exercise very often.

  4. Pavlovic with some info:

    "I’ve been off since before the draft, but I got a chance to watch Tyler Beede on the flight home. It’s easy to see what the Giants loved; He’s a big, athletic kid and was sitting at 93-94 most of the day, and he hit 97 mph on his 102nd pitch. It’s also to see why he slipped to No. 14; the command is spotty, and when he misses with a breaking ball, he misses by a ton. He couldn’t get out of the fifth even though he had a 10-0 lead. The good news? I’ve heard the Giants think they can iron out his arm slot issues (basically, it’s Dick Tidrow Time) and get him on the fast track."

    Tidrow is no miracle maker (see Jonathan Sanchez) but when he nails it (LIncecum and Bumgarner, and reportedly CC Sabathia), he's on the money. However, while I have heard stories about him and these guys (for Lincecum, Tidrow liked him so much, he told Sabean NOT to come out and see him; Bumgarner, he made a special trip out and fixed his arm slot issue; CC reportedly was his pick but he was voted down because of bonus issues, leading us, if I recall right, to selct Torcato), this is the first to connect him with Beede, and there is no direct connection, only the usual "Tidrow can fix him" mantra. Hopefully we will hear more in the near future, perhaps after he is signed.

  5. Sickel comments on the Giants draft plus rest of NL West:

    Key FYIs:

    Beede has a great arm but is still relatively raw as Vanderbilt products go .... He could develop into a Matt Cain-like workhorse.

    Garcia is a fine college choice in the second round, featuring a strong power bat and improving defensive work.

    Davis has a great arm and could make a fine pitcher ...

    Webb was unknown six months ago but suddenly started throwing 92-95 MPH this spring

  6. BA Chat Q&A on Beede:

    Once Beede signs, does he become a top 5 Giants prospect? And how much of him being drafted had to do with the way he pitches now and how much was it about the Giants envisioning what they could do with his talent under their tutelage?

    He's fine now. Erratic but doesn't need an overhaul. It's not like he's had bad coaching. His breaking ball and fastball command are inconsistent, and he has a high-energy delivery but also athleticism and at times three plus pitches. I think he'll figure it out, and yes, he vaults toward the front of the Giants' list for sure.

    1. Also:

      Tony J. Soto
      Good afternoon, any thoughts on the Giants draft? do you think they'll put Beede the fast track

      Clint Longenecker
      Its hard to talk about fast tracking Beede when he has struggled to throw strikes in college. Lets let the developmental system play out and him develop as a pitcher. He is in a strong system for developing pitchers. Logan Webb (4) offers a lot of questions and some upside as a power arm up to 96. It'll be fascinating to see how things play out with him because scouts had very little info because the last two months. Overall, it was a solid haul of players.



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