As we continue our coverage of the 2017 MLB Draft, it’s time to examine the #9 overall prospect according to both MLB.com and Baseball America: Austin Beck, who garners a 55 overall rating from the latter site (50 is average).
Beck is a right-handed center fielder out of North Davidson High School in North Carolina. Standing at 6’1″, 200 lbs, Beck is a prototypical outfielder and fulfills that label with a good combination of speed, defense, and hitting ability.
Ever since he tore his ACL near the end of his junior season, after batting in the upper .400s, Beck has been described as one of the fastest risers in the draft. Though he has committed to play at the University of North Carolina, he’s stated that going pro is an option for him.
Taking a look at the raw plays and stats from his game, Beck is very impressive. With a solid power-hitting capacity, Beck has it all. At the plate, his high bat speed translates into quality contact, and he’s earned a 50/55 line for his hitting/power ratings from MLB.com (50 is an average grade).
He’s got a great arm as of right now, though some scouts see him transitioning into right field from his current spot in center. There, he earned a 60 mark. Additionally, he can burn teams on the basepaths, as MLB.com gives him a 60 rating for speed. It’s no wonder multiple scouts feel comfortable comparing him to Mike Trout, though obviously Beck has tons of work to do to get there.
Here’s MLB.com’s rundown of Beck’s game.
Number one for me is the ACL tear. Although there’s no injury-prone label attached to Beck’s name yet, it certainly doesn’t inspire confidence in his legs. In addition, MLB.com notes that Beck’s been facing poor quality pitching in his league. They question his ability to hit effectively with a wood bat against solid or above average pitching.
Furthermore, Beck is still very young, and will need significant time in the minors to adjust to the uptick in opponents’ skill, as well as to tap into his potential. That youth also reminds teams that he could still choose to attend UNC come fall. Though it’s an unlikely outcome, it’s still on the table.
Heavy on pitching prospects and hopeful on infield prospects, Rick Hahn and the White Sox are still looking for quality young outfielders, and Beck would be a perfect fit.
Yes, Rick Hahn just uplifted Sox fans’ spirits everywhere by snatching outfielder Luis Robert out of Cuba, but the future is still unclear when it comes to the White Sox outfield. Luis Alexander Basabe, the White Sox’s #9 prospect, is years away from maturing into a big-league starter, and Robert also has some development to undergo as well. Beck would likely be sandwiched in between those two as the second best outfield prospect.