Here’s the scene, it’s late July in Binghamton, NY. It’s about 80 degrees, but one of those awful overcast, humid, muggy summer days that feels like you live in a cloud. I’m sure Binghamton’s overall rustic charm only added to the effect. The fifth inning had just come to a close, and a few raindrops had began to drizzle down from the now ominous skies. This was an unusual ballpark trip for the summer of 2018. Not only was I slightly out of my usual New England based scouting radius, I was at this game with all three kids, my wife, my sister, and brother in law. I was here as a treat for dad, while on a family visit to see my sister and her husband, who live just outside of Ithaca.
Evaluating prospects isn’t an exact science. It’s a constantly evolving process that factors in countless variables to attempt to give the best snapshot of a certain player in a specific moment of time. If you’ve been tracking Seth Beer over his Clemson career you fully understand this. If this past draft actually took place two years ago, Beer might have been the first overall pick because of his dominant freshman season. Instead, he went to the Astros at pick 28. Did they get a steal? Let’s dive in.
Seth Beer’s 2016 season was one for the ages. He became the first freshman ever to win the Dick Howser Trophy, which is given to the collegiate player of the year. Beer hit .369/.535/.700 with 18 homers and an impressive 62 walks to his 27 strikeouts for the Tigers. How do you follow up a campaign like that? It wasn’t like Beer was playing D-III ball either, he was doing this in the ACC!
His sophomore season was his “down” year on campus and he regressed to .298/.478/.606 with 16 homers. His final season at Clemson saw him hit .301/.456/.642. So he was never able to repeat his freshman year, but he was still one of the best college hitters throughout his career. He ended his time at Clemson with a .321/.489/.648 line over 188 games. Even more impressive, Beer chipped in a whopping 56 homers and 180 walks to only 98 strikeouts.
After his junior season there was some buzz that Beer wouldn’t be a first round pick, and those predictions nearly came to fruition, but the Astros swooped in and stole the slugger at pick 28. Beer gets criticized for being a “position-less slugger,” and those concerns are valid. The most realistic outcomes for Beer are a barely passable option in LF, or a poor defensive first baseman. Worst case scenario he becomes a DH, and that’s perfectly fine if he hits the way I think he can. On the flipside, the swing has a lot of moving parts. He starts the hands up high, right by the ears and features a double toe tap before he explodes through the baseball.
In my first year player draft piece for my home site, Friends with Fantasy Benefits, I ranked Beer as my number 14 prospect for dynasty first year player drafts. I think that has proven to be in the correct range to this point. Upon turning pro, Beer hit .304/.389/.496 which was good for a 155 wRC+ across three levels of A-ball. The Clemson and USA Baseball alum will go as far as the bat will carry him, and I like what I’ve seen so far. What you’re getting from Beer is a very high floor and the chance that he moves quickly though the organization. Those two variables are often lost when you are deciding whom to add in your FYPDs. If you’re looking to compete he can be a nice guy to snag in the middle of the first round in deeper (25-30 team leagues) or on the turn in shallower formats. If you play in OBP formats you should be even more aggressive when trying to add him.
I think the industry did a little bit of over-correction with Beer and the Astros stole him. Yes, I get it. He’s not as athletic as you want your first round pick to be, but from a scouting standpoint he has a 50-hit tool (due to the approach) with 70-raw power that plays to a 60 in game. If everything works out defensively, which I think it will, Beer is a 30-homer bat with high on-base skills. The elite college production is too much to ignore.
Each year around mid-May we're inundated with information regarding the incoming draft class. Hundreds of names flash before our eyes, everyone with a different sleeper, breakout, etc. While there's no MLB answer to the Mel Kiper Jr./Todd McShay there's plenty vying for the title, myself included. We all want to be the first to suggest a name that pops. But in the big scheme of things does it matter? For example, today's subject Xavier Edwards, was not one of my early favorites. Did I like Edwards? Yes, I had him 19th overall in my first edition of my first year player drafts. Then he stole 22 bases on 23 attempts, hitting .346 across two levels of rookie ball. Now Edward's is approaching my top 5.
This past week will be a tough one to top for Edmundo Sosa and his pro baseball career. He started it out by catching the final pop up for the Memphis Redbirds to win the Pacific Coast League championship, then Memphis topped Durham to win the overall Triple-A title. Sosa was since rewarded with a call-up to finish the season.
The Tigers purchased the contract of Venezuelan utility infielder Harold Castro after they ended Michael Fulmer’s season by putting him on the 60-day disabled list. Castro functions primarily as organizational depth these days, but players that can provide adequate defense at seven different positions will have value.
When the Royals took two Florida Gator pitchers with their first two selections in this June’s draft, it was a great story. As college teammates, roommates and best friends, Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar began their professional careers together. It however wasn’t the first time teammates had gone to the same team within the first two rounds. Hell, it wasn’t even the first time two Florida pitchers had gone in the first two rounds to the same team. That honor most recently belonged to former Gators A.J. Puk and Logan Shore after each were drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the first and second round respectively of the 2016 Draft
The Yankees added LHP Justus Sheffield to the 40-man roster for the stretch run on Saturday. The former Indians farmhand has spent the entire month of September pitching out of the bullpen in preparation for his new role for 2018. It was partly a way to keep the athletic lefties innings down, but also gives the Yankees even more depth to finish off 2018.
On Saturday the Houston Astros called up speedster Myles Straw. The left fielder isn’t what you would call must-add in 12-team mixed leagues, but he falls into another spot that’s interesting down the stretch as we chase titles in our respective leagues. Straw is must-stream for any managers looking to make up ground in stolen bases.