Seth Beer Sticks With What Works
After making the requisite puns based on Seth Beer's surname, draft experts expressed some confusion about the Astros' first-round pick out of Clemson.
"The (draft) commentators were kind of bashing him and the pick,” farm director Pete Putila said. "There weren’t that many great hitters (left on the board) . . . It’s not only his power—it's also his plate discipline and contact skills.
"I don’t know if part of it is because of all the negative commentary around his pick, but he’s real motivated.”
Houston chose Beer at No. 28 overall, and he spent just 11 games at short-season Tri-City before advancing to low Class A Quad Cities. The lefthanded batter hit .326/.437/.561 with seven home runs and 10 doubles through his first 35 games. He drew 19 walks against 24 strikeouts.
Beer posted gaudy numbers as a first baseman in the Atlantic Coast Conference thanks to two key traits: power and plate discipline. He mashed 56 homers and slugged .648 in three seasons, while walking in 20 percent of plate appearances and striking out just 11 percent of the time.
Beer made ample contact in college with what Putila calls a "really quiet swing.”
"Usually you’re getting a guy who can hit for power but has a lot of strikeouts,” Putila said. "There were some guys in the draft like that that maybe had a little bit bigger bat speed but were going to strike out a bit more. So we’re excited about that combination with him.”
A lifelong admirer of Chipper Jones, Beer brings the Hall of Famer’s trademark high back elbow to his batting stance. On draft night, Beer said he picked that up at an "obnoxiously young age.”
Since turning pro, Beer has been instructed to bring his elbow down a bit, Putila said, so that he can get into a swing quicker. The slow-footed Beer has roamed both corner outfield posts while the team determines whether he is bound for first base.
His offensive approach remains unchanged from his college days, despite the fact that pro pitchers challenge him more regularly than college ones did.
"We’ve seen some guys get a little out of whack (when making that transition)," Putila said. "But it’s nice to see that he’s been able to move quickly.”
J.B. Bukauskas Flourishes In Bullpen This Spring
Bukauskas dominated this spring, but he's new to relieving and the club wants him to continue his success in the minors after struggling in 2019.
** Double-A Corpus Christi righthander Forrest Whitley, the system's No. 1 prospect, was placed on the minor league disabled list on July 9 with a mild left oblique strain. The Astros do not think it is a serious injury and an MRI by team doctors did not reveal anything abnormal.
** Finally rid of a back injury that forced him to the DL in May, righthander J.B. Bukauskas returned to the Quad Cities rotation on July 21. Houston's 2017 first-round pick fired five shutout innings with seven strikeouts in his first start.