Much of the focus on the trade that sent right-hander Mark Melancon from the Giants to the Braves last July has centered on the surprising fact that the Braves were willing to take on all of the $14MM owed to Melancon in 2020. So much so, it seems, that the return the Giants received is often entirely overlooked. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, however, that the Giants are excited by the potential of righty Tristan Beck — a 23-year-old fourth rounder from the 2018 draft who saw his velocity trend upward during his run in the Arizona Fall League this year. Beck posted an ugly ERA (5.65) but encouraging FIP/xFIP numbers (3.04, 2.89) in eight starts with Atlanta’s Class-A Advanced affiliate. In the same number of innings with the Giants’ High-A club, Beck’s ERA dropped to 2.27 as he maintained sharp K/9 and BB/9 marks that carried into the fall league. Baseball America ranked Beck 14th among Giants prospects and called him a potential fourth starter, noting that his new organization’s decision to shift his four-seam focus to the top of the zone has improved his overall effectiveness.
A bit more from the division…
- Padres prospect Anderson Espinoza had been eyeing a summer return from last April’s Tommy John surgery, writes Dennis Lin of The Athletic in his latest reader mailbag. His timeline is now TBD, and the leaguewide stoppage has created the risk that he’ll miss an incredible fourth straight season of games. Still just 22 years of age, Espinoza was considered to be one of baseball’s premier minor league arms when the Red Sox shipped him to San Diego in return for a year and a half of Drew Pomeranz. But he’s twice undergone Tommy John surgery — most recently late last April — and now represents something of a wild card in a deep Padres farm system. His last appearance in a minor league game came back on Aug. 31, 2016.
- Although no one quite knows what the draft will look like, Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt is confident that his club is prepared and ready whenever the date does roll around, per Kyle Newman of the Denver Post. Rox scout Jay Matthews expressed to Newman that the ability to connect with players will be all the more crucial this year, as nondrafted players will be capped at just $20K signing bonuses. “Since we’re all going to be under the same money figure for free agents, it’s going to come down to relationships that the area scouts have established with the prospects,” said Matthews, likening this year’s atypical signing process for undrafted players to the college recruiting process. Newman points out that the Rockies have trended toward college players in recent drafts, with a particular emphasis on pitching. Colorado will have three of the first 46 picks in the draft — whatever form it takes.