Down on the Farm: Tyler Beede 'super excited' for Arizona Fall League

Sacramento River Cats

Down on the Farm: Tyler Beede 'super excited' for Arizona Fall League

While Giants top pitching prospect Tyler Beede rehabs at the team's spring training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. from a season-ending groin injury, he would much rather be in Sacramento with his River Cats teammates or quite possibly in San Francisco with the Giants. 

But now that Beede will continue his season in the upcoming Arizona Fall League, the Giants' top pitching prospect wouldn't want to be anywhere else. 

"I’m super excited," Beede said on learning he would join the Scottsdale Scorpions. "From what I’ve been told, it’s a super fun experience. I can’t wait to get on a mound and compete again. That’s what I’m most excited for."

Beede officially found out from the Giants on Monday that he will pitch in the AFL this season. Rosters were unveiled on Tuesday. Games begin on Oct. 10 and the right-hander is just one of six Giants prospects who will showcase their talents in the desert. 

"I was hoping to be able to pitch in the Fall League, because my thought was I was missing so much time at the end of the season I would have to make it up somehow, some way, and I wanted to so I could keep my arm in a strong position to potentially pitch more innings next year," Beede said. "I’ve just been kind of waiting to see who else would be there, who else would be on my team, who I’d be playing with and against. A lot of those guys I do know."

Year in and year out, the AFL produces some of the top talent in all of the minor leagues, serving as a preview of major league stars for years to come. When asked if facing the top young hitters in baseball immediately excites Beede, he was quick to answer. 

"Absolutely," Beede said with a spark in his voice. "That’s one of the best parts about the Fall League. To be able to go out there and showcase your stuff against those guys, it’s only going to make everyone better."

The Giants' top pick in the 2014 MLB Draft joined a long list of Giants promising players to go down with injury when his season came to an end after 19 starts. No time is good for an injury, but when it happened was especially frustrating for the Vanderbilt product. 

Coming off a start in which he allowed no earned runs in seven innings pitched on July 19, Beede's groin felt tight during warmups in his next start, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. And then, there was a pop. 

"At the time I was pretty bummed. I was feeling really good, so I had kind of felt or anticipated that I’d get called up possibly soon," Beede now admits. "For those first couple days I didn’t want to, but I allowed myself to not be too happy. I was a little pissed off. There’s never a great timing for an injury, but I was certainly thinking, 'Man, why did it have to happen at this point.'"

Since nearly the end of July, Beede has been in Scottsdale rehabbing. Only two weeks after the injury he was back in the gym working out his upper body and core strength, and is now incorporating his lower body. This Friday though will be the biggest test yet in his recovery. 

Beede is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time in over a month with his groing "feeling great." 

In what has been a tough situation, Beede is beyond pleased with how his body has responded throughout the rehab process.

"Everything’s feeling great. I’m just progressing and preparing for fall ball," Beede said. "It’s been a really positive situation and just been able to get my body under me and prepare for this next couple months." 

The No. 1 goal for Beede headed into any season is to stay healthy for the year. Unfortunately, he fell short in that goal this season in Sacramento, but that won't change his mindset in what will be his second chance to prove himself in 2017. 

"That will be my big goal for the Fall League," Beede said on staying healthy. "Obviously the concern with this is re-injury. I’m not going to focus on it when I go out there and pitch. I’m in a position now where I’m confident that it’s healthy and 100 percent.

"I just wanna go out there and pitch and get into a good rhythm and work on things."

The 24-year-old will compete for a roster spot with the Giants next season. In reality, that process could easily start as a Scorpion.

With new posting system reportedly agreed to, Giants can soon chase Ohtani


With new posting system reportedly agreed to, Giants can soon chase Ohtani

SAN FRANCISCO -- As the Giants continue to wait for a resolution to the Giancarlo Stanton chase, they may soon find themselves bidding on another superstar talent they have long coveted. 

According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreed to a new posting system that should allow Shohei Ohtani to be made available in about 10 days. Joel Sherman of the NY Post reported that MLB owners must ratify the agreement next Friday and Ohtani would then be posted that day or the following day. 

The Giants have made no secret of their desire to jump feet-first into that process, and general manager Bobby Evans and assistant GM Jeremy Shelley visited Japan in September to scout Ohtani, a potential two-way star. Ohtani wants to be a starter and a hitter in the big leagues, as he was in Japan, and after watching tape of the 23-year-old, Bruce Bochy said he would be on board. 

"He's good," Bochy said after a game at Dodger Stadium late in the season. "I absolutely would play him every day."

There has been little clarity over the past two months as MLB teams have waited for the negotiations to play out. Per Sherman, there will be new posting rules in future years but Ohtani will operate under the old system. That limits the Giants to a $300,000 bonus because they went over their spending limit in 2015, but club officials don't believe that will disqualify them. Very little is known about Ohtani's preferences, but by coming to the United States in 2017, he is potentially forfeiting a $200 million deal as a free agent. That alone is enough to validate the fact that the Giants can safely chase Ohtani, knowing that the signing bonus won't be a deal breaker.

MLB crushes Braves with sanctions for international signing infractions


MLB crushes Braves with sanctions for international signing infractions

ATLANTA -- The Braves lost 13 prospects and former general manager John Coppolella was banned for life by Major League Baseball on Tuesday for circumventing international signing rules from 2015-17.

Former Atlanta special assistant Gordon Blakeley, who was the team's international scouting chief, was suspended from baseball for one year by Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Sanctions imposed by Manfred will leave the Braves unable to bargain at full strength for a top Latin American prospect until 2021.

Manfred said MLB's investigation determined the Braves moved international signing bonus pool money from one player to boost another player's contract.

Most notable among the players the Braves will lose is Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016.

Other "high-value" players the Braves will lose include Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zuniga.

Three more international signees - Brandol Mezquita, Angel Rojas and Antonio Sucre - were declared free agents. The team's contract with prospect Ji-Hwan Bae, which was not yet final, was disapproved. Finally, the Braves were banned from signing prospect Robert Puason in the 2019-20 signing period.

The 13 players will be free to negotiate as free agents with other teams.

Also, the Braves will forfeit their third-round selection in the 2018 draft as punishment for offering "impermissible benefits" to an unnamed draft pick in an effort to convince him to sign for a lower bonus.

The investigation showed the players signed by the Braves in 2016-17 would have been unavailable if the team had not circumvented the rules by moving bonus pool money.

Manfred said stripping the Braves of the 13 players was not sufficient punishment. He said "additional sanctions are warranted to penalize the club for the violations committed by its employees."

Therefore, the Braves will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period. Also, the team's international signing bonus pool for the 2020-21 signing period will be reduced by 50 percent.

The Braves already cannot give an international signing bonus of more than $300,000 for 2017-18 and 2018-19 as penalties for exceeding their signing bonus pools under baseball's previous labor contract.

And there is still more discipline to be handed down.

Manfred said he intends "to discipline other Braves international baseball operations employees who participated in the misconduct."

Coppolella was forced to resign after the season. Former team president John Hart was moved to a senior adviser role when a new general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, was hired on Nov. 13. Hart left the team on Friday.

"The senior baseball operations officials responsible for the misconduct are no longer employed by the Braves," Manfred said. He also said the Braves "cooperated throughout the investigation."

Coppolella did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

The Braves braced fans for the sanctions when team chairman Terry McGuirk apologized to fans "on behalf of the entire Braves family" for the rules violations at the news conference to introduce Anthopoulos.

The Braves said in a statement released Tuesday they "understand and accept the decision regarding the penalties that have been handed down.

"As we expressed last week, our organization has not lived up to the standard our fans expect from us and that we expect from ourselves. For that, we apologize. We are instituting the changes necessary to prevent this from ever happening again and remain excited about the future of Braves baseball."

Manfred said he is confident the Braves management team led by McGuirk, Anthopoulos and vice chairman John Schuerholz "have and will put in place procedures to ensure that this type of conduct never occurs again and which will allow the club to emerge from this difficult period as the strong and respected franchise that it has always been."

The Braves are not the first team to be found guilty of violating rules in signing international players.

In 2016, the Boston Red Sox lost five players and were banned from signing international amateur free agents for one year as punishment for rules violations on signing bonuses.