NBC Sports

Giants name surprise starter for Cactus League opener

NBC Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tristan Beck hasn't thrown a big league pitch for the Giants yet, but he's a name that a lot of fans might remember. 

Beck was part of one of the first significant moves made by Farhan Zaidi after he took over as president of baseball operations. Zaidi surprised the industry when he found a taker for Mark Melancon's contract at the deadline in 2019, and Beck was one of two right-handers that came back from the Atlanta Braves. 

While one of them, Daniel Winkler, is no longer with the organization, Beck is gearing up for his biggest moment yet in orange and black. He'll start the Cactus League opener on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. 

The Giants, as they always do, are slow-playing things with their veteran starters, which means Beck and other depth options will soak up the innings in the first spring games. Beck will be followed in some order Saturday by left-handers Sam Long and Erik Miller, and right-handers Trevor Hildenberger, Nick Duron and Drew Strotman.

For Beck, it should be a cool moment, and a continuation of what's been a strong stretch for the former Stanford star. Beck was added to the 40-man roster in the offseason so that he would be protected from the Rule 5 draft, and he's part of a group -- which includes Long, Sean Hjelle and others -- of younger arms the Giants may have to count on at some point over the long 162-game season.  


"He's a command guy. I think of him in the Ross Stripling mold, a guy that has multiple pitches and can put the ball where he wants to put it," Kapler said of Beck.

Beck made 20 appearances in Triple-A last year, posting a 5.64 ERA and striking out exactly a batter per inning. He earned an early promotion in 2022 by striking out 19 and allowing just four earned runs in three Double-A starts.

Beck was added to the 40-man roster at the same time as fellow tall right-hander Keaton Winn, who jumped from Low-A to Double-A last season. They are part of a wave of young starters that should give the staff more options a year after bullpen games became the norm. Hjelle has had a good camp but likely will begin the season in the Triple-A rotation with Beck, top prospect Kyle Harrison and others. Long has started for the Giants in the past but they plan to have him in a multi-inning relief role. 

RELATED: How Giants are adapting, adjusting to 'fast' pitch clock

Kapler compared the group to the 2021 spring class of relievers: Camilo Doval, Kervin Castro and Gregory Santos. The Giants knew at the time that someone would emerge, they just weren't sure who it would be. They feel they have good starting depth now, with an extra line of defense behind the seven options on the big league roster.

"We know somebody in this group is going to be really meaningful," Kapler said. "Maybe more than one."

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast