Giants

Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Aramis Garcia catching Shaun Anderson

Giants vs. Blue Jays lineups: Aramis Garcia catching Shaun Anderson

Welcome to the Shaun Anderson era. The Giants top pitching prospect is making his MLB debut on Wednesday at Oracle Park against the Blue Jays. 

And he'll be throwing to a familiar face. 

Anderson's battery mate will be catcher Aramis Garcia. The two have worked together the past two seasons in Triple-A Sacramento together, and the familiarity should help ease the rookie right-hander into the big leagues. 

Over seven starts this season for Sacramento, Anderson was 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA in the extremely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He also had 37 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched. 

[RELATED: Bochy discusses Giants' need to rebuild by trading core]

The Giants acquired Anderson at the 2017 MLB trade deadline from the Red Sox for infielder Eduardo Nunez. 

Here's how the Giants and Blue Jays are set to line up on Wednesday in San Francisco. You can watch the game on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the MyTeams app, with pregame coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m. PT.

Toronto Blue Jays (17-24)
Brandon Drury, 2B
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B
Rowdy Tellez, 1B
Randal Grichuk, CF
Freddy Galvis, SS
Teoscar Hernandez, LF
Billy McKinney, RF
Luke Maile, C
Edwin Jackson, RHP (season debut)

San Francisco Giants (17-24)
Joe Panik, 2B
Steven Duggar, RF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Pablo Sandoval, 1B
Mac Williamson, LF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Kevin Pillar, CF
Aramis Garcia, C
Shaun Anderson, RHP (season debut)

Tyler Beede accomplished big off-field goal one month before first MLB win

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USATSI

Tyler Beede accomplished big off-field goal one month before first MLB win

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Vanderbilt's Class of 2019 gathered on the school's alumni lawn May 10, there was a spot waiting for one of the school's most famous recent students. But Tyler Beede was thousands of miles away.

Beede had pitched two relief innings at Coors Field the night before and would come out of the bullpen four days later against the Toronto Blue Jays as the Giants experimented with an opener for the first time. But like so many others on May 10, Beede officially became a graduate of Vanderbilt University. 

When the Giants took Beede 14th overall out of the pitching factory in 2014, he was just 19 credits short of getting his degree in organizational management. Beede picked classes back up in 2017 and this spring, five weeks before he celebrated his first win in the majors, he got his degree. 

"Ultimately that was a desire of mine to go and finish up as soon as possible," Beede said. "I knew the longer I waited the less I would feel inclined to want to go and take classes. I was glad I was already that close to graduating, and then the rest was just finding time, finding the right situation for me, and then just hammering them out from there."

It's not always easy for a prospect to find that right situation, and not just because it would take some serious self-motivation for any guy in his mid-20s to sign up for classes when he received a $2.6 million signing bonus and was closing in on a big league job. Beede initially planned to go back to Nashville in the fall of 2017, but a groin injury ended that season prematurely and he was sent to the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost innings. 

Beede was excited to be back on a mound, but also bummed that he couldn't go back to Vanderbilt to knock out some classes. He reached out to the school, which does not have online classes, with a simple question: "Is there anything I can do?" Beede was told he could finish up his hours at nearby Arizona State and transfer those over. 

He took three courses while pitching in the Fall League that year and then three more during spring training the next year. While teammates might have been headed to the golf course after games, he was often doing homework. Occasionally he would sit in the clubhouse before a game -- not one he was starting -- and take an online test. 

"In the past I was like, I don't want to focus on anything else except baseball, and then once I got into the routine of spring training and what it was like and what to expect, I knew what kind of time I had," he said. "There is a lot of free time in spring training, especially early on when it's just pitchers and catchers. We're done by like 1 (p.m.) so it gives me time on the back end to do stuff.

"It wasn't ideal to do both (baseball and school) at the same time, but it kind of reminded me of college when I had to do both. It was worth it to have it finished and not be a distraction going forward or something I had to worry about."

Beede said he always knew he wanted to get his degree no matter how his professional career turned out. When the Blue Jays took him with the 21st pick in 2011, he turned down a $2.5 million bonus and went to school, in part because of conversations with family members who told him there was tremendous value in getting a free education at a prestigious school and then pursuing his big league dreams afterward. 

Beede finally appears close to realizing the latter part. Still just 26, he has shown flashes of the potential that twice got him drafted in the first round. Beede has a 6.96 ERA overall as a rookie, but that first win came last week when he struck out seven in six strong innings at Dodger Stadium. The Giants are anxious to see if he can finally lock down a rotation spot and have given him a long leash.  

[RELATED: Report: Giants, Dodgers not ruling out Will Smith trade]

The first win always comes with a souvenir baseball and the scorecard from the game, and when Beede finds a spot for the items in his offseason home, he may need to clear out a bit more room. A breakthrough on the mound kept Beede from flying to Nashville for graduation, but the diploma was sent to his parents in Massachusetts. He told his mom she'll need to mail it to him.

"I'll have that hung up somewhere in my house for sure," Beede said. 

MLB rumors: Giants, Dodgers not ruling out Will Smith trade before deadline

MLB rumors: Giants, Dodgers not ruling out Will Smith trade before deadline

Plenty of the same names remain, but this isn't the same old -- no pun intended -- Giants.

The product looks similar to previous seasons, however, with president of baseball operation Farhan Zaidi at the helm, everything is different. That could become even more clear at the July 31 MLB trade deadline when the Giants are expected to see significant roster turnover. 

Zaidi could even be on the phones with his former employer, which just happens to be the Giants' biggest rival. MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Tuesday morning that the Giants and Dodgers haven't ruled out a trade that would send San Francisco's closer Will Smith to Los Angeles. 

Smith, who turns 30 in July, could be one of the top targets on the trade market. The left-hander is a perfect 20-for-20 in save opportunities this season. He owns a 2.01 ERA over 32 appearances out of the bullpen and has 47 strikeouts to seven walks in 31.1 innings pitched. 

"Right now, we'll play hard for the orange and black, and whatever happens, happens. We'll cross that bridge when we get there," Smith said less than two weeks ago when asked about trade rumors

The closer we get to the trade deadline, the louder the rumors will get. Just last week, MLB Trade Rumors released their list of the top 50 trade candidates. The top two names were both Giants pitchers, but it was Smith who topped the list, not team ace Madison Bumgarner.

Smith is on a cheap one-year, $4.23 million contract. He's been one of the best relievers in baseball this season and could be exactly what a contender needs for a postseason run. 

As far as the Dodgers go, Zaidi is plenty familiar with the state of the franchise. Zaidi served as the team's general manager from 2014 through the 2018 season. He knows the team's farm system, which ranked seventh by MLB.com entering the season, inside and out, and should be able to target the type of players the Giants need to bolster their minor league system. 

[RELATED: Marco Luciano receives rave reviews from Farhan Zaidi]

“If we do end up in a position where we’re selling and looking to get some future talent, you actually want to be trading in the division because you want to weaken your rivals in future years, and you want them to push more chips into the present. In a way, it actually benefits you more," Zaidi said on KNBR at the beginning of the month when asked about a possible trade with the Dodgers.

The Giants and Dodgers last traded with each other in 2007. With Zaidi running the show, though, anything is possible -- even if that means helping the rival now for a better future in San Francisco.