Jays select pitcher Beede in first round of draft

 

 
 
 
 
MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.
 

MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Photograph by: Mike Stobe, Getty Images

TORONTO — Tyler Beede is a big, strong high-school right-hander from Massachusetts who throws three pitches for strikes and, at 18, is way smarter than most pitchers his age.

He also has committed to go to Vanderbilt University.

That didn’t seem to faze the Toronto Blue Jays, who made Beede their top pick in Monday’s Major League Baseball amateur draft.

“I know what this kid’s dreams and goals are, and that’s to pitch in the big leagues,” said scouting director Andrew Tinnish. “And I feel like this is the best route for him, to sign with us and get his pro career started.

“I believe that he feels the same way, but we need go work through those details over the coming days and weeks.”

Baseball America said Beede could be a “tough sign.” The magazine also ranked him No. 35 among the available prospects. The Jays picked 21st and were rumoured to have their eye on a position player.

But when their turn came, Beede’s name was atop their list, Tinnish said.

The scouting director personally saw Beede pitch six times. Several other scouts took a long look, as did general manager Alex Anthopoulos. They all liked the fact that Beede is big, has excellent command, consistently hits 93 on the radar gun and is a quick learner.

“He really knows what he’s doing,” Tinnish said.

Beede’s high-school competition in cold-weather Massachusetts was not strong, but he made the rounds of the “showcase circuit” last summer and more than held his own against good hitters, Tinnish said.

In April, Tinnish said he asked Beede what he took from that summer experience. The answer: He modified his windup to improve the tempo of his delivery, changed his arm slot to improve his curveball and set out to strengthen his legs with a new winter regimen.

This spring, pitching for Lawrence Academy, he was 8-0 in 51 innings with 102 strikeouts and eight walks. His ERA was 0.69.

He was physically stronger than when he pitched last summer, and “I think he’s going to get stronger,” Tinnish said.

Last week, Beede’s father, who was drafted by the Cubs in 1981, sent out a letter to area scouts covering New England reiterating Beede’s commitment to Vanderbilt and asking them not to call any more.

When ESPN Boston asked his father, Walter, about the letter, he replied ambiguously: “All that was meant do is clarify Tyler’s belief and our family’s belief in his ability as a baseball player.”

Tinnish said Beede has the rare ability for one so young to understand his mechanics and repeat his delivery consistently.

“He’s working on things that you’d see maybe a 21-, 22-year-old working on,” Tinnish said.

Before the draft, the Jays said they would pick the best available player when their turn came, regardless of position or the likelihood of signing him. They knew about the commitment to college, which sometimes is a device to drive up the price tag.

Tinnish did not say he expected to convince Beede to turn pro, and he emphasized that the Jays have their limits, no matter how much they like a prospect.

“We place a certain value on a player,” he said. “Our goal is to sign the player for what we feel the player’s worth. Will that work? Again, only time will tell.”

From Baseball America’s scouting report: “Beede has an ideal pitcher’s frame. Throwing from a high three-quarters arm slot, he pitches at 88-93 mph and touches 95. He has good arm speed on his change-up, and he has a firm curveball that’s average but has good shape.”

The Jays took Jacob Anderson, a high-school outfielder from California, with their second pick, 35th overall.

Toronto took pitchers with six of its first seven picks last year; four of those six were high-school players.

Their top pick in 2010 was Deck McGuire, a right-hander from Georgia Tech who is pitching well for high-A Dunedin in his first pro season.

National Post

jlott@nationalpost.com

Twitter.com/LottOnBaseball

 
 
 
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MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.
 

MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks during the MLB First Year Player Draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Photograph by: Mike Stobe, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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