SAN FRANCISCO — Dereck Rodriguez was a week short of his 26th birthday when he made his big league debut last season, and it’s now hard to imagine the Giants’ future without him. Andrew Suarez was a rookie at the same time, and he also solidified his spot during the season in which he turned 26.
It’s never too late to arrive when you have a good arm, something you should remind yourself the next time you see Tyler Beede toe the rubber. Beede has spent most of his professional career as the organization’s best starting pitching prospect. He entered this spring as somewhat of an afterthought after a rough 2018, but he has opened eyes with the way he’s throwing.
“It’s his time to step up,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I think he’s poised to do that.”
To step up, Beede has taken a step back. When the Giants took him 14th overall out of Vanderbilt in 2014, Beede had an upper 90s fastball and a hard curve, and he felt his changeup was his best pitch. The Giants tried to make him more efficient, and at one point Beede was throwing five pitches, primarily relying on a new sinker and a cutter. He came into camp this year with a new plan.
“Four-seam fastball, curveball and changeup — attack the zone with all three I’m changing up my sequences,” he said.
Beede simplified things last year when he was moved to the bullpen in Triple-A, and over the offseason, he worked with a specialist to make his arm path more efficient. He has altered the grip on his fastball and curve to up the spin rate, and the early results are promising.
Bochy raved about Beede after watching him throw a live BP session early in camp. Beede can feel a difference out on the mound.
“I don’t say that based on velocity or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just confidence of where my pitches are at and then the reactions from live BP (early in camp). I just feel like this is the best my ball is coming out consistently on a pitch-to-pitch, throw-to-throw basis.”