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.