When a major league team gives a prospect an invite to major league spring training, their jersey number tends to be in the seventies, eighties or nineties in lieu of a more common number since they’re not likely to break camp with the team.
Tyler Beede, however, will sport the number 38 on his back when pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale, Ariz. Feb. 13 and 14.
Beede, 24, is the Giants top pitching prospect and a candidate for a rotation spot behind sure-things Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. A groin injury in July cut the right-hander’s 2017 season short, but a busy offseason has Beede in position to win a rotation spot with a strong month of March.
He is also the only prospect attending Giants FanFest Saturday:
“I’m excited. Obviously there’s opportunity here and I’m excited for the opportunity in spring training to go out and compete. A lot of things I can’t control but I want to be able to go out there and control my attitude and my effort and I’m going to go and compete.”
Much like outfielder Steven Duggar, who also has a chance to make the Giants’ Opening Day roster, the Giants sent Beede to the Arizona Fall League in an attempt to make up some of the innings he missed during the 2017 regular season. The AFL ran from Oct. 10 to Nov. 18 and featured some of the league’s brightest future stars like Victor Robles of the Washington Nationals and Ronald Acuna of the Atlanta Braves.
Beede made four starts for the Scottsdale Scorpions, striking out 11 and walking four in 16 innings. While his 4.50 earned run average looks average on paper, he coughed up five of the eight he allowed in the AFL in his first start, which lasted just two innings. The other three starts? A 1.93 ERA. Perhaps most importantly, he said, he stayed healthy throughout the month-and-a-half-long season:
“The Fall League was awesome. I got to develop a few new things and made some adjustments that are giving me a lot of confidence coming into this season, coming into this spring.”
One week after the AFL season ended, Beede got married, then headed right into his offseason workout plan:
“It was workouts every day, kind of the normal offseason routine. A shortened offseason but productive as well. Got a lot done and had a lot of fun so we’re excited for the season.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy wouldn’t handicap the starting rotation past Samardzija Friday but did mention that both the fourth and fifth starter spots are open:
“Competition is a good thing and as we go into Spring Training, it’s going to be competitive … I think we have some good candidates. We could add some more before we get there or once we get there. Point being, there’s nothing set in stone on what we’re going to do.”
The battle for both spots would ostensibly come down to Beede, Ty Blach, Chris Stratton and Andrew Suarez, who posted a 3.30 ERA in 156 innings across double-A and triple-A in 2017. Derek Holland, whom the Giants signed to a minor league deal Friday, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, could also factor into Bochy’s decision for the rotation.
For now, Beede remains upbeat about the opportunity to pitch for the Giants in 2018 and the team the front office has assembled:
“I’m rooting for the other guys who are competing as well, they’re great friends. It’s a great group that we have here. I think we’re all excited for the opportunity to go win as a team and so whatever that looks like, whatever 25 guys that is, those guys are going to be ready to contribute. It’s going to be an exciting group.”