SAN FRANCISCO -- Tyler Beede is thriving in his second season, so to speak, of 2014. The Giants gave him a chance to enter a third season.
San Francisco selected Beede, Vanderbilt University's right-handed pitching ace, in the first round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.
Beede owns an 8-7 record with a 3.20 ERA for Vanderbilt, statistics which fall far short of those typically associated with top Draft picks. But Beede, whom the Giants took with the 14th overall choice, has improved his strikeouts-per-nine-inning ratio to 9.7 in 16 starts from last year's 9.25.
"Certainly, I've had some ups and downs this year and some inconsistency, more so than I'd ever want," Beede said in a recent interview posted on masslive.com. "But ... it's a humbling game. I've certainly had some experiences that have made me a better player and I've learned from all the failures I've had this year, and that's benefited me."
Moreover, Beede has capitalized on a fresh chance to excel for the Commodores. He delivered his best performance of the season when it counted most, striking out 14 batters in eight innings in last week's 11-0 victory over Xavier in the Nashville Regional.
"I've had the ability to kind of restart and put the regular season aside and start over new in the playoffs, and that's huge," Beede said in a recent interview posted on masslive.com.
Beede will receive yet another opportunity on Friday when he and the Commodores face Stanford in the Super Regional.
"My mindset is -- I'm trying to be calm," Beede told masslive.com. "I'm trying to enjoy the moment. It's obviously a big time for us. With the Draft going on Thursday night -- I wouldn't call it bad timing -- but we're in the middle of a big season and a big situation and we're wanting to go to Omaha [site of the College World Series]."
Scouting director John Barr said that when and where Beede will begin his Giants career -- assuming he signs -- could depend on his remaining pitching activity for Vanderbilt. If the Commodores were to advance to the College World Series, with Beede logging more innings, the Giants might sharply restrict his pitching for the rest of the year or even shut him down entirely.
It's not as if Beede needs to impress the Giants further. The 21-year-old's pure stuff, along with his apparent potential for further development, intrigued San Francisco. At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Beede could conceivably add bulk. That could add force to his fastball, which regularly travels at 92-94 mph and can reach 97 mph, as well as his curveball and changeup, which is considered excellent.
"He has a chance of moving quickly," Barr said of Beede, a native of Auburn, Mass. "You can't teach the arm that he has."
Beede has issued 43 walks in 98 1/3 innings, prompting some concern. However, Barr said, "You have to look at the overall stuff, you have to look at the athleticism, you have to look at his arm speed and delivery. One thing I do know is that this organization, with [player personnel director] Dick Tidrow and the coaching staff, develops pitchers and develops them well."
This isn't a new experience for Beede. Toronto selected him 21st overall in the first round of the 2011 Draft. But Beede, fresh out of Lawrence Academy in Groton, Mass., opted for college as the only first-rounder from that year's Draft not to sign. Skeptics questioned Beede's decision to forego a bonus that would have exceeded $2 million. But he has flourished at Vanderbilt, following the example of other distinguished Commodores such as big leaguers David Price of Tampa Bay, Pedro Alvarez of Pittsburgh and Sonny Gray of Oakland.
Beede, who became the seventh Vanderbilt pitcher selected in the first round since 2004, set a school record for victories while posting a 14-1 record with a 2.32 ERA in 17 starts as a sophomore in '13. Beede earned an All-America mention that year and was a finalist for the Dick Howser Award and the Golden Spikes Award, college baseball's two top individual honors.