Friday, December 29, 2006

Prospect Profile: T.J. Beam (#14)

Age: 26
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 215
Drafted: 10th round in 2003 out of U Mississippi
Position: Relief Pitcher
Throws: Right

Stuff: T.J. Beam did not have the stuff to remain a starter, as is common with many excellent relief pitchers. He has an excellent fastball, which clocks in at 93-95 mph, touching as high as 97 on the gun. He uses his lanky body to full effective, producing a deceptive top-down movement on his fastball. He'll see a lot of hitters swing and miss on balls in the dirt as a result. He complements it with an even better slider, at about 83-84 mph. He can place it anywhere he wants, almost as if he was locating a good fastball. Beam has experiemented with a slow looping curveball, changeup, and cutter in the past but none developed into a decent pitch.

Command: His true asset as a reliever is his ability to command that slider. He can place it anywhere he wants, almost as if he was locating a good fastball. He is not slouch with the fastball either, possessing command among the best in the Yankee system. When he walks somebody, he usually means to. Despite struggles early in his career, he posses a 3.54 career K/BB ratio and a 2.59 ERA.

Outlook: T.J. Beam struggled at first in the majors. This can be expected, considering that he entered the 2005 season in Low A Charleston. Beam has never been less than excellent at every step of the minors since converting to the bullpen. He will be an excellent major league reliever, and could put up some stellar seasons. I have a lot of faith in Beam, and the Yankees clearly do too. After not pitching an inning over Tampa, they put him on the 40-man prior to last season. He could prove to be a workhorse too, as he pitched over 90 innings last season. He will return to the Columbus bullpen, and should be the first to be called up to the major leagues. He'll be 27 in August, so time is certainly a concern. He may be the oldest prospect on this list, but do not read too much in to that. He was drafted after four years in college at 23 years old and only converted to a reliever around his 25th birthday.

Grades: Ceiling B, Health A, Comparison: Steve Karsay