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MLB Draft 2021: Yankees select Brendan Beck 55th overall

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The Yankees returned to the pitching market for their second-rounder.

NCAA BASEBALL: MAY 31 Div 1 Championship Stanford Regional - Stanford Cardinal v Sacramento State Hornets Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After going with a college bat with their first-round pick yesterday, the Yankees took their first pitcher of the draft to start off the second round. Brendan Beck, a senior out of Stanford, was the Yanks’ selection with the 55th overall pick, adding to a bevy of arms that the organization hopes to develop into a potential starter.

Beck was a starter all four years at Stanford, and his final season with the Cardinal featured the most workload he had taken on in his career. Beck pitched 108.2 innings this year, earning a 3.15 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 26 walks in the PAC-12 conference. He was recognized for that stellar campaign with PAC-12 Pitcher of the Year honors, and was one of four Cardinal players to make the PAC-12 All-Conference team.

Beck was a two-way player at first, playing five games at third base in college in 2018 before spending the summer at the hot corner in the West Coast League. Beck slashed just .243/.360/.314 there, however, and focused solely on pitching beginning in 2019. It doesn’t appear likely that the Yankees have found their version of Shohei Ohtani.

MLB.com had the following to say about Beck:

A 6-foot-2 right-hander, Beck is more about his feel for pitching than an eye-popping repertoire, though his stuff was ticking upwards a bit in 2021. His fastball is now more of an average offering, sitting comfortably at 91 mph, and he’s shown the ability to reach back and get 93 mph when he needs it. The rest of his stuff, a distinct curve and slider, as well as a changeup, all grade out as average offerings. Beck’s ability to mix all four of his pitches and throw them all for strikes allows all of his stuff to play up. He’s fun to watch because he works fast and his combination of strike-throwing and athleticism remind some a little bit of Shane Bieber when he came out of college in 2016. Bieber was a fourth-round pick and seeing Beck go at some point on Day 2 as well seems extremely plausible.

That’s some high praise, I’m sure the Yankees would be thrilled if Beck can come even somewhat close to Shane Bieber’s development path. Note that they said “at some point on Day 2” though — MLB’s prospect rankings had Beck listed at No. 99 overall and Baseball America had him No. 81.

It seems as if the Yankees have now gone under slot for both of their first two picks in this draft, though the projections for both of those picks have been solid still. It’ll be interesting to see if they can grab someone unexpected with one of their next few picks.

Welcome to New York, Brendan!