Blue Jays Ready To Go After Beede

TORONTO Righthander Tyler Beede could be considered a risky pick. After all, he has said that he intends to attend Vanderbilt.

But that did not deter the Blue Jays from taking the 18-year-old from Lawrence Academy in Auburn, Mass., with the 21st overall pick.

"We lined our board up based on ability," amateur scouting director Andrew Tinnish said. "And when it came our turn to pick at 21, he was the first name on the board. That was our plan all along, was to take the players that were there based on their ability.

"As far as him committed to Vanderbilt, I think he's pretty excited about the opportunity of playing professional baseball. Only time will tell whether or not we sign him, but we feel pretty confident."

Beede's size and athleticism—as well as pitching smarts beyond his years—impressed the Blue Jays.

"He's very polished, he's very athletic," Tinnish said. "He has a big frame and I've seen it grow from last summer till now. He's 6-4, 200, but he carries it really well. He hits anywhere from leadoff to fourth on his high school team. Just watching him move around and run around.

"It's an athletic delivery, it's a good arm action. That along with his aptitude, we feel we can really project on him taking greater strides down the road."

The Blue Jays are impressed by his pitching mechanics, something he has worked on.

"It's a really advanced delivery," Tinnish said. "He's a full windup guy, he's got great tempo. It's a high leg kick, it's a great stride, a long stride down the mound. It's a quality follow through. One thing that is important to us as scouts is to break down deliveries, not just for projection but as far as how well we feel the arm will continue to work long term.

"And his delivery really works. It's a delivery that he repeats, and if you can't repeat your delivery you have a tough time throwing strikes. He does throw strikes at a good clip right now. I think he'll continue to get better at that and I think a lot of that is related to his delivery. He's a smart kid. He understands his delivery. He's pretty advanced for his age . . . He's working on things that I think you'd see maybe a 21- or a 23-year-old working on."

Beede pitches from 88-93 mph with an arsenal that includes a fastball, changeup and curveball.

"He's got downhill plane (with) an advanced curveball and changeup," Tinnish said. "He really knows what he's doing."

Tinnish has seen the curveball change from last year.

"Last summer he was more of a three-quarter slot guy and we came out and saw him in the spring and he had raised his slot to more of a high three-quarters, a more traditional curveball slot," Tinnish said. "It's a pitch that he has a feel for. Certainly it still needs some work. He's got good rotation and depth and can throw it for a strike. I believe in time he will have the ability to back-door it. I think down the road it's got a chance to be a real good pitch for him."

And now it is the Blue Jays turn to make their pitch.