SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For the first time in two years, Tyler Beede stepped onto the mound at Salt River Fields Saturday afternoon. The last time he started a spring training game, Beede was one of the Giants’ best prospects, close to cracking rotation. Now he’s fighting for a squad spot.
Beede, once known for his enticing combination of power and precision, hasn’t been quite as dominating his pitches since being shut down in his second spring start of 2020 with a sprained elbow that led to Tommy John’s surgery. Beede, who has been stripped of his last two seasons, is now 28 and has no options. If he doesn’t make the opening-day roster, the Giants will almost certainly have to retire from their 2014 first-round pick.
After allowing two five-hit runs in two innings of work and his fastball touching 96 mph, Beede showed the newfound perspective he has after the long, sometimes lonely process of working his way back from baseball’s most infamous operation.
“To be healthy and back on the hill and just competing, having a chance to make the team, I’m very, very grateful for that,” Beede said after his outing in the 8-5 win over the Rockies, according to The First The Giants win the Cactus League. “I’m really happy with how I felt, staying in the moment and continuing to attack the zone.”
That doesn’t change his reality, though – that he might be getting acquainted with a new organization by this time next month.
“We’re not going to make big plans for how this season is going to go for Tyler,” said manager Gabe Kapler. “We’re just going to take one step at a time. So far he has made good progress in that direction.”
When Beede entered spring training in 2020, he had just completed his first year in the Giants rotation and wanted to consider their future plans. Beede was 26 and “felt like I was throwing the best I’ve ever thrown,” he said. Then, on his second outing this spring, Beede felt discomfort in his right elbow, sending it down the path that has consumed his last two years.
Fourteen months away from Tommy John surgery, Beede was cleared for a rehab assignment last May. In 12 starts, he went almost a batter an inning — 32 in 35 2/3 innings — while posting a 6.56 ERA. He returned to the majors on July 10, allowing three runs in an inning of relief. He was sent back and never returned to the major league roster.
Never before had Beede shown signs of serious leadership problems.
During his rise through the minor league system, Beede knocked out more than twice as many batters as he went. Even when he posted a 5.05 ERA during his rookie campaign in 2019, he sniffed 113 in 117 innings with just 46 walks.
So what went wrong?
The Giants’ message was simple. Or, well, simplify.
“Simplified approach, lots of hits, not a lot of mechanical cues, not a lot of pitch mix changes, just fewer things to think about,” Kapler said. “Get out there and do it and be yourself.”
He’s pared his bids down to three pitches — fastball, curveball, change — and worked to clear his head on the mound. In his first starts after surgery last season, Beede said he had a lot on his mind but didn’t necessarily realize it.
“You think about recovery. You’re thinking of going out there and pitching. I think when I made things too complicated, I knew I had to simplify things,” Beede said. “That was the process for me, but it took the offseason to step down and realize I was overcomplicating things. …
“I think we’re all on the same page. … A simplified approach just going out there and attacking the zone with my pitches will do the job for me. And then we can go from there.”
Between Logan Webb, Carlos Rodón, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Alex Cobb, all five spots in the Giants’ rotation appear to be considered, making it all the more difficult to find a roster spot for Beede. With 19 games in the first 20 days of the season – and with expectations of expanded rosters early in the year – the Beede may pave the way for bringing the team out of camp.
If not, it’s hard to imagine a pitcher with the likes of Beede going through waivers without at least one team making a claim — the kind of low-risk, high-reward move the Giants’ front office has built its own reputation for.
https://www.thereporter.com/2022/03/19/why-this-is-a-critical-spring-for-former-sf-giants-top-pick-tyler-beede/ Why this is a critical spring for former top pick Tyler Beede