Picked up by the Rays in a straight-up trade-deadline deal for Nathan Eovaldi (RHP, Red Sox), Beeks has been roughed up in his MLB outings this year, though he had taken solid developmental steps forward at Triple-A Pawtucket that the four-pitch mix will start to eat some higher-quality MLB innings soon, with a ceiling of a future Role 50 back-end starter, and with low risk to the profile.
Boston’s 12th-rounder out of the University of Arkansas in 2014, the 25-year-old Beeks works from a compact delivery out of a high-¾’s arm slot, and while there is some effort in the motion, he has improved his repeatability this year to the point that his command could finish as above-average, with both his BB/9 (2.6) and SO/9 (12.2) showing marked improvement this year at the Triple-A level. He works his fastball in the lower 90’s and he throws it for consistent strikes, but there’s not much movement or velocity on the pitch to challenge hitters and miss bats, and it plays as an average offering. He offsets the movement issue by varying the velo on it, and he can reach back for the middle 90’s on occasion, and toss in an occasional two-seamer in the high 80’s to add some wrinkle, but the offering puts some pressure on the secondaries to keep hitters off-balance. He works it well down in the zone, and it keeps the ball on the ground, with a career 1.58 GO:AO ratio to show for it.
His cutter comes in the 87-to-90 mph range with enough late dart to generate soft contact, and he has incorporated it quite a bit more this season after adding the pitch in 2017. His 12-to-6 curveball comes in at 75-to-77 mph and has some sharp, late break to get chase on it when he’s working ahead in the count. The changeup is presently firm at 85-to-87 mph, and it comes in with some mild drop, but it’s becoming a real weapon as he sequences it more and develops some feel for the pitch, and he’ll benefit from using more often versus right-handers as he matures.
Beeks has appeal as a ready-made big-league starter with plenty of team-controlled years still ahead of him. He’s proven durable despite his small size for a today’s prototypical SP frame and build, but the four-pitch mix, pitchability, and control/command profile show that he was worthy return for Euvaldi.