The next prospect profile is about reliever-turned-starter Clayton Beeter and his chances to come to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Texas Tech has been on the verge of becoming a collegiate baseball powerhouse, and they have been producing top-tier talent in the process. Last year, former Red Raider Josh Jung was a first-round selection by the Texas Rangers. Now, one of their stars in Clayton Beeter has the chance to be a first-round selection; maybe even by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Clayton Beeter is a 6’2, 220 fireballer who earned the closer role at the beginning of 2019. He spent the 2019 season in the bullpen and did a very solid job in that role, finishing the season with a 3.48 ERA with eight saves. He played a huge role in getting the Red Raiders to the College World Series and getting the closest to a National Championship in program history.
Even though he pitched out of the bullpen in 2019, he was a force in that role. Beeter struck out an absurd 17 batters per nine innings. In conference play, he was a different animal with 21 strikeouts per nine innings. Yes, you read that right.
The Redshirt Sophomore made the switch to the starting rotation for the 2020 season and even won the opening day start for the Raiders. He wasn’t pitching for a slouch team either, as Texas Tech came into the season ranked #3 in all of college baseball as well as being fresh off a College World Series appearance.
He only made four starts because of the season being called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in those four starts, he was dominant and pitched his way into the first round of the draft, even with his limited track record. He struggled with his command out of the bullpen in 2019, but showed a ton of improvement in 2020; going from 8 BB/9 to 1.7 BB/9.
Beeter has a very interesting profile. He has one of the best fastballs in the draft, sitting at about 94-96 mph and can max out at about 98 mph. His curveball has 12-6 movement that travels at about 80 MPH and is considered to be a plus-pitch. His slider is very solid with hammering movement and usually sits at low-mid 80s.
Though Beeter is a name that has been getting some first-round traction, his stock has been all over the place. Some mocks have him going in the late second (Ranked No. 51 in the MLB Pipeline rankings). The reason with this is because he has undergone multiple elbow operations and he is relatively new as a starting pitcher. Even if he has recently made the change to a starting role, he could switch back to reliever at the next level.
With Beeter’s repertoire and upside, teams could take him as high as the late teens. In my opinion, St. Louis taking him at 21 would be a slight reach; but it would be an understandable pick because of what he can become. If the Cardinals can snag him at 54 though, it could very well end up being one of the biggest steals in the draft.