We’re nine days away from the 2020 MLB Draft, and this profile is on one of the higher-risk, higher-reward prospects on my list. It’s Clayton Beeter of Texas Tech.
- RHP Bobby Miller, Louisville [May 15]
- OF Daniel Cabrera, LSU [May 18]
- RHP Jared Kelley, Refugio HS (Texas) [May 21]
- RHP Slade Cecconi, Miami(FL) [May 25]
- SS Ed Howard, Mount Carmel HS (Ill.) [May 28]
- SS Jordan Westburg, Mississippi State [May 29]
6’2, 220 pounds
Position: Right-handed pitcher
DOB: Oct. 9, 1998
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Slot recommended bonus (No. 29): $2,424,600
Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and videos.
If there’s one thing the Billy Gasparino and the Dodgers’ scouting department isn’t afraid of, it’s pitchers with injury histories in the early rounds of the draft. Walker Buehler (2015 1st-rounder) was hurt and eventually needed Tommy John surgery after he was drafted. Mitchell White (2015 2nd-rounder) and Jordan Sheffield (2016 supplemental 1st-rounder) were a TJ guys in college. Morgan Cooper (2017 2nd-rounder) has yet to throw a pitch as a pro. And Michael Grove (2018 2nd-rounder) had TJ the summer before his draft year.
Enter Beeter, who — as you might have guessed — is coming off two major elbow surgeries while at Texas Tech. He had TJ surgery in December 2017. Seven months later, he had an arthroscopic procedure on the same elbow. In two shortened seasons — one due to injury, one due to the pandemic, he logged just a combined 41 2/3 innings. He pitched exclusively out of relief in 2019 before moving into the Red Raiders rotation in 2020. In four starts, he had a 2.14 ERA, improved his command dramatically (from 21.5 BB% to 4.9 BB%) and struck out a mind-blowing 40.2 percent of the batters he faced. It’s a small sample size for sure, but he showed the stuff to back up the numbers … or the numbers backed up the stuff — whichever you prefer.
Beeter works with a legitimate 93-96 MPH fastball that has touched 98 MPH. He pairs the fastball with two power breaking balls — one a low-80s curveball, one a mid-80s slider. Both grade out as above-average-to-plus potential offerings. The curvebal is a true 12-6 hammer that, reports say, are very Trackman-friendly (i.e., high spin rates). The slider is more of a 10-4 shape and has bat-missing potential. He also has a changeup, but like most draftees, he doesn’t go to it much. Still, it looks like it has potential if he’s willing to throw it more. At the professional level, he might need it — especially against lefties.
Aside from the lack of a track record at Texas Tech, there are other reasons why he isn’t a boanfide Top 10 guy. He has some reliever risk because of a higher-effort delivery. It’s not overly violent, but it’s more methodical with some longer arm action. He has a quick arm that helps him generate velocity, but it could also lead to him having trouble repeating his delivery/release point. He’s athletic, so that works in his favor, but he’s one of the riskier players on my board.
Videos courtesy of Gutter Towers and Perfect Game.
The easy comp here is Buehler, and you can see a lot of it in Beeter. He’s a little more stout than Buehler, but the stuff — both post-TJ — is comparable. The only thing is, Buehler had a much better track record.
The stuff and the potential scream top-end starter, but he could also (easily) end up in the bullpen. If he does, he could be a multi-inning guy or back-end reliever with premium stuff. If he makes it to No. 29, a slot(ish) offer probably gets him to sign. As a redshirt sophomore, though, he has a little more leverage than college juniors.