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. 

Rockies vs. Giants lineups: Why Bruce Bochy has Brandon Belt leading off


Rockies vs. Giants lineups: Why Bruce Bochy has Brandon Belt leading off

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants on Tuesday will have a No. 2 hitter who was in the minors when the season started, a cleanup hitter who has played just four games with the team, and a No. 5 hitter who began the season in Toronto. But that's not what stood out when the lineup went up. 

Brandon Belt is hitting leadoff for just the second time in his career. Belt is not your prototypical leadoff hitter but he leads the team with a .359 on-base percentage and nobody else is particularly close. Joe Panik is the next highest among regulars at .317. 

"Hopefully he gets on base. He's a good on-base guy, but also a power threat," manager Bruce Bochy said of the decision. "It's fair to say offensively we've had our struggles and sometimes you change thing to see if you get out of that rut, especially here at home. We've had a lot of games where we've scored two runs or less."

The Giants got blanked 2-0 in the first game of this series with the Rockies. They rank last in the Majors with 116 runs scored at home and have a .284 team on-base percentage at Oracle Park. Bochy said he has thought about making the change for a few days. 

"If it doesn't work you can look at me," he said, laughing.

[RELATED: Giants, Dodgers not ruling out trade]

Here are tonight's full lineups: 

Colorado Rockies (41-37)
1. Charlie Blackmon (L) RF
2. Ian Desmond (R) CF
3. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
4. David Dahl (L) LF
5. Chris Iannetta (R) C
6. Ryan McMahon (L) 2B
7. Mark Reynolds (R) 1B
8. Garrett Hampson (R) SS
9. Chi Chi Gonzalez (R) P (2019 season debut)

San Francisco Giants (33-44)
1. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
2. Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Alex Dickerson (L) LF
5. Kevin Pillar (R) CF
6. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
7. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
8. Donovan Solano (R) 2B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P (3-7, 4.28 ERA)

How Giants' Kevin Pillar was brilliantly depicted by this local artist


How Giants' Kevin Pillar was brilliantly depicted by this local artist

Watching any pre- or postgame show on location, you'll see fans waving cheer cards behind NBC Sports Bay Area/California broadcasts. On one side "Authentic Fan" is proudly stamped in team colors. 

But on the other side, there's always a treat.

And in this case, a very artistic treat. The back of the cards showcase some local artists' renditions of players, past and present. This time around, it's Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar in a creation by Amanda Mantchev. 

Amanda is a senior graphic designer at NBC Sports Bay Area/California. You follow her other outstanding work on Instagram, here

Before we unveil the cheer card to you, which will be available on Say Hey Tuesday, June 25, when the Giants host the Rockies at Oracle Park, let's give you some of the details on how this masterpiece was created.

"What we were going for this year, was since the team has a new name for the ballpark, and they're trying to get a new team -- a young, youthful moving into the future-ish, you know, so we thought maybe a little bit more of a modern approach," Mantchev told NBC Sports Bay Area. 

Her use of simple shades, cool palettes and clean lines demonstrate the modern theme.

Are you ready? Here you go ...

Mantchev looked at a lot of images of Pillar and wanted to showcase how skilled he was as a batter -- and of course, his sleeve tattoo which is beautifully depicted on the card.

As far as making sure his facial features were on point as well, she admitted that was another portion of the project that was important, but didn't want it to be solely based on what he looked like.

"Instead of just showcasing a headshot -- I think everyone knows what he looks like -- you can find those photos anywhere," she said.

"It's funny you mention that because he has a very distinguished nose [it's true, he has a certain profile]. And yeah, of course he has his beard. I at least wanted to show that."

Movement was also an important factor for the final product since Pillar is known for his movements on defense as well.

"When I think of Kevin, I don't think of him as a face, I think of his body movements. I think of him making catches and stuff like that."

Dialing it back to the color scheme, of all colors that could complement the orange color associated with the Giants ... it was blue. But she didn't want to go full-on blue, for obvious reasons.

"I didn't want to do straight blue because everybody thinks Dodgers or Padres," she explained. "So then I went lighter and found this kind of teal color, or more of an aqua."

You can see the circle-shaped sky painted in this color (the circle reminded Mantchev of a baseball, it was perfect) behind the Pillar animation which also highlighted the San Francisco skyline. 

[RELATED: Pillar emotional on return to Toronto following trade]

Working on this final piece of art, Mantchev said she worked closely with the Giants' art department to ensure even the smallest details were tended to. 

"This is art, and it's supposed to be fun and different and you can do things in art that you can't do in real life, and they understand that," she said.

You can even be on TV with these one-of-a-kind Pillar cheer cards if you want to stop by NBC Sports Bay Area's set for Giants Pregame and Giants Postgame Live at Willie Mays Plaza.

We will be showcasing other cheer cards throughout the season. And if you missed any of them, no problem. You can see it all during the "Battle of the Bay Art Show," an A's and Giants-themed art exhibit during the Bay Bridge Series from Aug. 13-14.