Tyler Beede

Beede, Holland jump into race for rotation spots with spring debuts


Beede, Holland jump into race for rotation spots with spring debuts

SCOTTSDALE — There are all sorts of weird things that minor leaguers go through. One of them might have cost Tyler Beede a shot at a September call-up last season. 

Beede was warming up for a start in late July when he suffered a groin injury that knocked him out until the Arizona Fall League. The game was a 10 a.m. start because of an event at the ballpark, and Beede said it taught him a thing or two about extending his pre-game warmup routine.

“I had never been hurt before,” Beede said. “When I got hurt I realized I needed to do a little more to activate my body. I need to give myself an extra 30 minutes to an hour. I wish it would have been a different wake-up call, a more subtle one.”

Monday’s wake-up call was a normal one. Beede took the ball at 1:05 p.m., but it didn’t go quite as planned. The Royals got four hits and three runs in Beede’s two innings of work. Still, the young right-hander was happy with the way his arm felt, and Bruce Bochy said Beede threw better than the numbers indicated. 

“He threw a lot of strikes,” Bochy said. “Especially a lot of first-pitch strikes.”

The next pitcher up, Derek Holland, also gave up multiple runs. Both are vying for a rotation spot, and Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Andrew Suarez were sharper the first time out. But Bochy was happy with what he saw from Holland, too. 

“I thought Holland looked really good,” he said of the lefty. “He looked really sharp, hitting his spots, freezing some hitters. He had a good, quick arm going. For the first time out, that was pretty impressive.”

--- Julian Fernandez, a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies, struggled in his Giants debut. Fernandez didn’t record an out and was charged with four earned runs on two hits and two walks. He appeared to be overthrowing, which makes sense. 

“I’m sure the nerves were going pretty good,” Bochy said. 

Fernandez has never pitched above A-ball, but he has to make the opening day roster for the Giants to keep his rights. Bochy said he’ll throw the 22-year-old right back out there this week. 

--- Josh Osich struck out two in a perfect inning. There’s still a chance for him to snag a bullpen spot with Will Smith out until May 1. 

--- Ryder Jones said his MRI revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain. He’ll miss at least another week of camp. 

--- The main story today is Chris Shaw, who dropped 15 pounds this offseason to improve his defense. 

--- Over on Instagram stories, a spring day in the life of Brandon Crawford. The Instagram handle is: pavlovicnbcs. 

Could Kelby Tomlinson be part of Giants' solution in outfield?


Could Kelby Tomlinson be part of Giants' solution in outfield?

SAN FRANCISCO — The “hot stove” seemed to finally get going Wednesday morning when several reporters tweeted that Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole was headed to Houston. 

Would that lead to free agent starters signing deals they had in hand? Would the Pirates finally tear it down and trade Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison, too? Would the Giants be on the other end of a McCutchen deal?

Well … none of the above. Cole hasn’t been traded, at least as of this posting, and the offseason remains as quiet as ever. 

But, there are still Giants topics to go over, so here’s another round of Q&A as we wait for real moves. Thanks to everyone who reached out on Twitter and Facebook, and as a reminder, you can ask your questions here on Twitter or here on Facebook and I’ll get to them in these mailbag pieces or on the podcast. 

What is Kelby’s role? Can’t they groom him for center field and put him in the leadoff spot? — Frankie Jai Barker, via Facebook. 

Kelby Tomlinson has played parts of three seasons in the big leagues and the staff has simply never really viewed him as a starter. It’s a bit weird when you look at his career splits: he has a .280/.347/.352 slash line as a starter and a .292/.359/.348 line off the bench. I mean, he is what he is, an average-dependent player with intriguing speed and little power, but that’s a nice piece on a team without much depth. 

Tomlinson is blocked at every infield spot, and to answer this specific question, the Giants don’t believe that he can really transition to the outfield.

At the same time, I watched this front office and coaching staff put Aaron Hill in left field at the end of his career. I watched Travis Ishikawa move out there. I watched Ryan Theriot take fly balls. I have no idea why Tomlinson got just two starts in the outfield on a 98-loss team. The most underrated failure of the 2017 season is that the Giants saw practically no development at the big league level. A lot of that had to do prospects getting hurt, but the staff certainly missed an opportunity to experiment a bit with guys like Tomlinson or Chris Shaw, who I still believe should have gotten September at-bats.

Steve Young retired after his fourth concussion in three years. Brandon Belt is in that ballpark. Has he or the team given retirement a thought? — Patrick Connolly, via Facebook

Belt’s concussion in August was his third in the last four seasons and fourth in eight years when you include a really bad one he suffered while playing at the University of Texas. There was concern when this latest one happened and I’m sure Belt and the team still have concerns, but in talking to Belt and team officials, I’ve never heard a hint of retirement talk. In September, when he admitted his season was over, Belt said he was focused on 2018, and added that none of the doctors he has seen have told him he should stop playing. 

“There are always going to be some questions about whether this has some long-term effects, and hopefully it doesn’t,” Belt told me. “But right now it’s not going to keep me from playing baseball … It’s not like I’m repeatedly banging my head against something. If that was the case, it might affect me more in the long term. This is more sporadic and the hits aren’t too terrible. Once I get over these concussions, they tell me that I won’t have to worry about them anymore.”

For the sake of Belt and his family, you hope that that’s true. This is different than football in that Belt doesn’t really have any other collisions that have gone undiagnosed, and there’s no reason to think he’ll take another blow to the head. As I always say when people call him injury prone, people just need to stop throwing baseballs at Belt and he’ll be fine. Hopefully that’s the case for the rest of his career.

Why would the Giants pursue either a free agent (Bruce) or a rental player (McCutchen), rather than try to get a player that they would have more control over the next few years? I would think that the allure of having a stable lineup would be better than the volatility of the market. — Eric Quertermous, via Facebook. 

In a perfect world, the Giants would have walked away from the Winter Meetings with Marcell Ozuna, or they would be at the front of the line for Christian Yelich, or they would have a deal ready for Jackie Bradley Jr. Unfortunately, they live in a world where they just don’t have very many prospects that appeal to other teams. The Marlins made it clear that the Giants didn’t have enough to get Ozuna, who would have solved a ton of their problems, and there’s no way they can outbid others for Yelich, who is 26 years old and owed just $44.5 million over the next four years. 

This is why Brian Sabean has said that he doesn’t want to give up draft picks (second and fifth rounders) for a player like Lorenzo Cain, and it’s why I believe strongly that they need to stick to those guns, no matter how weird this offseason gets. To compete as this core ages, they’ll need a better farm system so they can be more competitive on the trade market. 

Or, a more ideal situation: Start developing homegrown stars again and then lock those guys up. That’s light years more efficient than their recent run of spending hundreds of millions in free agency. 

With Matt Moore gone, is Ty Blach back in the rotation? Stratton, Beede, Suarez or get a vet starter to round out the top five? — @Jeff_Henig

After the Moore trade, I kept thinking back to a conversation I had with Bruce Bochy in September. I asked him if Chris Stratton was legit and if he would be the No. 5 starter in 2018. “I think he’s more than that,” Bochy said. He always viewed Stratton as more than a swing guy, and I would expect the right-hander to open the year as the No. 4 starter. The Giants have been hesitant to say much about Blach’s role before he gets to spring training, but my gut says he’s headed for the bullpen as another lefty/long reliever. As I wrote in an earlier mailbag, don’t overlook Andrew Suarez in the race for the No. 5 spot, but my guess is that the Giants will sign a veteran to a minor league deal, and that he will win the job in Scottsdale. That’s what they do. 

Alex, wondering if Eduardo Nuñez is still available? Would definitely prefer to see Nuñez over Pablo Sandoval. — Mark Hanes, via Facebook. 

Mark, I’m sure the rest of the fan base agrees, and Nuñez is still looking for a job. Ken Rosenthal wrote recently that some established big leaguers have started to ask their agents if they’ll have to take minor league deals, and if Nuñez is sitting there in a month and looking at nothing but cheap one-year offers, I would absolutely make the call. He would be perfect as super-utility backup, and man, this team sure could use more guys with energy. I’ve got to think that eventually someone will give him $4-5 million or so, and the Giants would be better served using that kind of money on their bullpen, but who knows … this continues to be the weirdest offseason in recent memory. 

After frustrating season, Tyler Beede tells why he's 'real confident' for 2018


After frustrating season, Tyler Beede tells why he's 'real confident' for 2018

A large group of the best prospects in baseball who are on the verge of making the major leagues, spent the weekend learning how to enjoy successful careers with more than their athletic abilities at the annual Rookie Career Development Program at the Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, VA. Among those invited was Tyler Beede, the Giants' top pitching prospect.

"It's great just to be a sponge, to learn things and implement them into my career on and off the field," Beede told MLB Pipeline. "It's been awesome and I've learned so much since I've been here." 

Staying in the moment is never easy for a prospect, especially those so close to earning a call-up. Beede acknowledged he dealt with that mentally during an up-and-down year with the Giants' Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats in 2017. 

"I think the whole year I was sort of just anticipating the phone call," Beede said. "If I had a good start sittin' there by the phone, waitin' for a phone call and that sort of got in my head.

"I think I needed to have a new perspective of why I was playing, my routine, my mindset, and I think that injury kind of put me in a new state of mind where don't take for granted where you're at. You're a phone call away and it's frustrating you got hurt on the verge of being called up, but it's an opportunity to get better, to take each start as it is."

Warming up for his start in July, Beede suffered a groin strain and never returned to the mound for Sacramento. At the time of the injury, he was coming off one of his best starts of the year, going seven strong with no earned runs, five strikeouts and only one walk. He ended his season with River Cats posting a 6-7 record with a career-high 4.79 ERA over 19 starts. 

Beede was back on the hill for the Arizona Fall League and proved why he's the Giants' highest regarded arm in the minors when healthy. After only 109 innings pitched in his injury-shortened regular season, Beeded added 16 more in the AFL. He shook off the rust after a shaky first start and then flashed his future potential. 

In Beede's final three starts, he compiled a 1.93 ERA over 14 innings to go along with 10 strikeouts to one walk. 

"Being able to pitch in the Fall League after coming off the injury, getting healthy and sort of building my confidence back, tweaking some things mechanically and in my routine allowed me to feel more confident," Beede said. "Going into 2018, I feel really good, real confident with what I'm doing."

With the Giants' trade of Matt Moore, Beede, 24, is expected to compete with several others in spring training for the Giants' fifth spot in the starting rotation.