Tyler Beede on track to be top-five pick

Tyler Beede has had ups and downs, but has emerged as a top draft prospect for 2014. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

I've seen Tyler Beede pitch at least a half a dozen times dating back to the summer before his junior year of high school, and while he's always been good, he'd never put together the single dominating performance where he'd show both stuff and command that would make me feel he was a clear top-10 or top-five pick. He did that on Friday night, an outing against a good lineup (Stanford) that had area scouts walking away saying the same thing: That's the Tyler Beede we've all been waiting for.

Beede has had some ups and downs over his long career as a top amateur prospect; in high school he had average velocity, a good changeup and good feel for his age, with an easy delivery, but in 2013 he started throwing harder with much worse command. Friday night, he had it all, with good downhill plane on a 92-95 mph fastball, holding his velocity throughout his outing. His changeup was once again his out pitch, 80-83 with downward fade to left-handers, but with a little cut to it when he threw it to right-handers, demonstrating a precocious ability to manipulate the baseball. His curveball was his least consistent pitch, but the majority were above-average or better, 80-81 mph with tight rotation and an 11-to-5 break. He stayed ahead of hitters almost the whole night, and his fastball command was the best it's been in years.

Beede works with a full windup and a high leg kick, staying tall and strong over the rubber before his stride forward. He barely rotates his hips, so a lot of that power is coming from his upper body relative to what he gets from his lower half. It's a healthy stride and he finishes really well over his front side, unsurprising for a good overall athlete who showed he can field his position well, too.

Toronto drafted Beede in the first round in 2011, but didn't sign him as the two sides disagreed over several aspects of the negotiations, only one part of which was the money. A reader commented to me that he wished the Jays had ponied up for Beede, but that criticism is unfair, as the Jays did offer more than $2 million (well over slot) to him, a very reasonable sum given the kind of prospect he was at that time. He's going to make more than that in June, however, as it's hard for me to imagine that he's not a top-five pick, with only Carlos Rodon and Tyler Kolek clearly ahead of him at this point, assuming (and hoping) everyone stays healthy.