Commentary

Plenty of praise for Tyler Beede

Updated: June 6, 2011, 4:35 PM ET
By Brendan Hall | ESPNBoston.com

One by one, with each start, the scouts flocked to Groton, Mass., this spring to watch his technical mastery in 40-degree weather.

Everyone from part-time local area scouts all the way up to the Brian Cashmans and Theo Epsteins of the world has been spotted at his starts this season. Of course, he rarely bats an eye. He's been throwing for radar guns since he was 15; three dozen at a time is nothing new.

He is the best major league prospect Massachusetts has produced since Peabody High's Jeff Allison went 16th to the Marlins nearly 10 years ago. One local major league scout muses that this prized right-hander is "as good of a prospect we've had in a long time in New England."

His name is Tyler Beede of Lawrence Academy, and when the Major League Baseball draft's first round starts, he likely will become a household name -- one who could command a big paycheck, too.

Scouts universally rave about the 18-year-old Vanderbilt commit's searing fastball, which topped out at 95 miles per hour in his final start of the season for the Spartans; of his textbook delivery, of which he is able to repeat and not strain; of his above-average changeup and high-70s, 12-to-6 curve, which he's built up in the past year and is now able to mix into his repertoire seamlessly for strikes.

Above all else, Beede is a pure athlete. A tight end on the football team and close to a scratch golfer, this is a kid who never used training wheels growing up and went right for the black diamond trails with no poles as soon as he picked up skis.

"He could have had D-1 scholarship offers coming out his ears in football," said former LA head coach Mike Taylor, who stepped down from the position in February. "Kid's got it all. And he's not a big-headed kid; he's a humble kid. Good kid, gets along with everybody."

Out of superstition, Beede never takes batting practice. Still, out of the leadoff spot this season, he batted .481 with 15 RBIs, 24 walks and four home runs -- including bombs off two highly touted prospects, Dexter's Florida-bound John Magliozzi and St. Sebastian's Boston College-bound junior John Nicklas.

On the mound, however, is where Beede is truly blessed. This past season, he went 8-0 in 51 innings (all complete games save one) with 102 strikeouts, eight walks, 13 hits allowed and five earned runs for an ERA of 0.69. In the two seasons at Lawrence Academy since transferring from Auburn High, where he helped lead the Rockets to the 2009 Division 2 state championship, his numbers are outstanding: 14-1 with 189 strikeouts in 96.1 innings and an ERA under 0.80.

[+] EnlargeTyler Beede
Courtesy Brendan Hall Tyler Beede should hear his name called Monday during during the first round of the MLB draft.

Beede has worked extensively for years at the Hudson, Mass.-based Cressey Performance training facility under strength coach Eric Cressey and since the age of 14 has sought out the guidance of Connecticut-based pitching guru Len Solesky. Both have been credited with helping out many top local prospects in recent years.

"It's been a whole lot," Beede said. "A lot of long-toss programs, a lot of repetition of mechanics, a lot of workouts on Saturdays, over the summer, four, five days of just busting my a-- -- pardon my language. Me and my dad, we were getting there as much as we could [to Cressey's], to do whatever it took."

The pedigree helps, too. His father, Walter, was drafted by the Cubs in the 13th round in 1981 and coached at Becker College in Worcester, Mass., from 2001 to 2008. This year, LA head coach Chris Margraf asked Walter to join his staff as a volunteer assistant, and he worked with the team in all areas of the game.

"I had never ever coached either of my sons [Tyler and Kyle] in any sport because I felt it would be a disadvantage for my sons, a no-win situation," Walter Beede said. "But I was honored to do it this year. For me as a dad, to walk out to the mound various times during season & you've got to understand, sitting in the confines of the bleachers is one thing. But to look into his eyes and see the sense of the player and not your son, it's a really different dynamic."

Above all else, the high praise about Beede's long-term projections stems from his maturity. Nobody seems to run out of good things to say about him, from his polite mannerisms to his thoughtful sound bites with the media.

"Just such a level-headed kid; whatever happens tomorrow [during the draft], I think he's in a good situation," Margraf said. "Having major league teams come in to find out more about him, invariably we start talking about his character because I think that truly sets him apart. He's got some added bonuses to him & the more you get to know him wow, there's A, the physical prowess, but B, the mental side, too."

Said Taylor, "The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays called me about him and wanted to know about his character. I told them, if you want to make a movie about a perfect kid, you're going to take someone from central casting, Tyler Beede's the kid that you'd pull out."

What now?

On Thursday night after the LA football team's alumni banquet at the Westford Regency Inn, Beede told ESPNBoston.com: "This week there's been a lot of emotions, a lot of thoughts, a lot of phone calls, lot of meetings, just a lot going on in my head."

One day later, ESPN's Keith Law tweeted, "Tyler Beede sends letter to area scouts saying he is going to Vanderbilt, asks teams not to contact him." A major league source has since confirmed with ESPNBoston.com that the letter was sent out to every scout in the New England region.

When asked Saturday about the letter, Walter said, "All that was meant do is clarify Tyler's belief and our family's belief in his ability as a baseball player."

Teams sometimes view these letters with a jaundiced eye -- often a message like this is a ploy to get more money or to fall to a certain team. In Tyler's case, he could have truly been looking for the phone to simply stop ringing or he could truly be honoring his commitment to the Commodores that he made nearly two years ago. It could be taken multiple ways.

Beede has been projected going anywhere from 24th overall to one of the Sandwich rounds. Law's most recent mock draft has him going 32nd to the Rays; his two previous mocks both had him going 30th to the Twins. It has been said that in what could be the final year before a possible wage scale for draft picks -- that's one of the subjects said to be tabled when the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 11 -- Beede could demand top-10 money.

The Texas Rangers have been one of the most active teams in the Beede courtship, deploying five members of the scouting department on the LA campus and questioning everyone from teachers to administrators to coaches about Beede's makeup off the field.

At last Wednesday's pre-draft news conference at Fenway Park, Red Sox director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye said Beede is an "excellent pitcher, [a] guy we've scouted for a long time, we've gotten the chance to see him over the summer, seen him this year." At least one Sox scout and as many as five have been spotted at Beede's starts this spring.

As one of the teams that can certainly afford to dole out top-10 money, and with four picks in the first 40, speculation about the Red Sox's interest has obviously picked up.

"Playing for the Red Sox, just even getting drafted by them, would be a dream come true," Beede said. "Just growing up watching them, and I played at Fenway one time [for a showcase], it would be a dream come true. & I would love nothing more than to play for the Boston Red Sox."

Very soon, things are going to get that much more eventful. Nothing new for this kid  every start has been an event this spring.

Brendan Hall covers high school sports for ESPNBoston.com. Email him at bhall@espnboston.com or follow him on Twitter at @BHallESPN.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

EDITORS' PICKS

MORE BOSTON HEADLINES