He was the Red Sox 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, though you probably know nothing about him.
Meet Jalen Beeks, the next man up in the Red Sox farm system.
Beeks, a 24 year old southpaw, has quietly entrenched himself as the organization's top pitching prospect. He landed himself on the team's 40-man roster -- and now that Jay Groome is out indefinitely following Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm, Beeks may be the next man up for the organization.
A twelfth round draft pick out of Arkansas in the 2014 draft, Beeks had not appeared on many's major league radar until last season. He put forth an impressive 11-8 | 3.54 | 1.214 stat line in 2017 between Portland and Pawtucket. He struck out 155 and walked only 55, leading to an impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.82.
Beeks is not built like a prototype starting pitcher, clocking in at 5'11" and 195 pounds, but he has legs like tree trunks, and uses his low center of gravity to hurl fastballs in the 92-95 MPH range. He can throw his fastball for strikes consistently, but peppers in his curveball, cutter, changeup, and slider to change the pace and keep hitters guessing.
CHART: Sox Pitching Prospects
In 2018, Beeks has continued his progression, dominating International League hitters. Through seven starts, batters have only hit .191 against Beeks, and through 37.1 innings pitched, he has posted an ERA of 1.91 and a WHIP of 0.964.
Due to his size, and elbow problems from his college days, Beeks may project to be a back of the bullpen reliever long-term. But look out for him to make some key spot starts in the home stretch of 2018.
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