Austin Beck Keeps Adjusting To Pro Ball
Failure can be an essential element of success, and that seems to be what is happening for 19-year-old outfielder Austin Beck.
The No. 6 overall overall pick in the 2017 draft endured a rough first taste of pro ball, hitting just .211 in the Rookie-level Arizona League and striking out 51 times in 152 at-bats.
"It’s a game of adjustments,” farm director Keith Lieppman said. "Last year, (Beck) had never seen that quality of pitching. He came to Arizona and saw high velocity. Last year, he got accustomed to pro ball, then he went to (instructional league)."
Lieppman points to adverse weather conditions in the Midwest League, where Beck was assigned this spring, as a factor in his slow start at low Class A Beloit. He played high school ball in North Carolina.
Beck's bat warned along with the weather, and in June he hit .365/.404/.447 with five doubles and a triple. Most important, he keeps learning.
"He’s a very dedicated, very determined player,” Lieppman said. "He loves to play and has a lot of energy. He’s getting to know himself and his swing.”
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Beck, who bats righthanded, has developed his approach and improved his strike-zone judgment. He no longer flails at fastballs at the letters and has learned when to take that pitch.
"This year, it’s been all about adjustments,” Lieppman said. "The pitchers have gotten to know him. He’s adjusted to them.”
The Athletics grade Beck between 55 and 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale for all five tools: hitting for average, hitting for power, speed, fielding and throwing.
Beck has spent the season in center field, and he has a strong arm that would play in right. While he had hit only one home run this season, he drives the ball out during battling practice. Lieppman expects the power to come later, as his body matures and he gains experience.
Just a year into his career, Beck still has much to learn. However, he is showing both the attitude and the aptitude to thrive, and that has Oakland excited.
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** Just as he was preparing for a trip to the Futures Game, catcher Sean Murphy fractured the hook of the hamate on his right hand. He missed the game and will be absent from Double-A Midland for about six weeks. Murphy had fractured the hamate in his left hand while at Wright State.
** Lefthander A.J. Puk has been recovering well from the Tommy John surgery he had shortly after spring training. He is only at the beginning of the long rehab process and has spent his time training and rebuilding.