Scouting Yankee Prospect #39: T.J. Beam

The Yankees selected T.J. Beam in the 10th round (304th Overall) of the 2003 draft. Beam has one of the top fastballs in the system, a monstrous physique and a plus slider to give him an excellent one-two punch in his repertoire. It's these reasons that he's our #39 Yankee's prospect.

Vital Statistics
Name: T.J. Beam
Position: Pitcher
DOB: August 28, 2004
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 215
Throws: Right
Place of Residence: Scottsdale, Arizona

Drafted in the 10th round of the 2003 draft out of the University of Mississippi, Beam has the look of a "steal" for a slightly late pick. At 6' 7", Beam is an imposing figure on the mound and had a very good season in 2004. Beam averaged better than one strikeout per inning pitched while posting very good WHIP ratios for both Staten Island and Battle Creek. He could not duplicate the same ERA success in Battle Creek, but it was still a solid stint in Low-A ball. However, the only downside to Beam's performance is his age. He is already 24 years old and hasn't landed in High A ball yet. After stalling in the low levels of the system, T.J. has become over aged. He'll need to make a splash in High A ball or AA next year to retain prospect status. Or else, things could fade in a hurry for the tall righthander.

No one can deny the nasty combination that Beam brings to the mound with his explosive fastball and above average slider. Also, these two pitches have helped him to dominate in short season leagues twice in his career. However, as the statistics show, he has struggled a bit as he has made his move to the full season leagues. It is becoming more and more apparent that T.J. Beam is going to have hard time succeeding in the high levels with only two pitches, no matter how good they are. But, that is not to say that Beam could not succeed at all. In fact, he has all the makings of being a strong relief prospect. For example, in the first few innings of the games he pitches, T.J. dominates his opposition, but by the the third time through the order, he begins to get hit.

A move to the bullpen would be far from a death sentence for T.J. Beam's prospect status. In fact, it is about the only thing that will keep him from being stuck behind guys like Eric Abreu, Tyler Clippard and Abel Gomez next season in Tampa. In actuality, he could be the one relieving them and setting up for Mike Martinez in 2005. With his superb two pitch attack, physique, control and aggressiveness, it could be the best thing that ever happened to Beam.










2003 Staten Island 2-1 1 33.1


9 31 2.70
2003 Battle Creek 2-1 0 21.2 27 8 19 5.82
2004 Battle Creek 2-5 0 41.1 34 17 54 4.35
2004 Staten Island 2-4 0 66.2 61 14 69 2.56

Repertoire. Fastball, Slider

Fastball. The heater is the name of the game for T.J. Beam. There is not much doubt that Beam has one of the top fastballs in the Yankee Farm System. The tall, lanky righthander can get his fastball up around 97 MPH at times, pitching around 93-94 MPH. Also, he still has room to fill into his wiry frame. However, he also knows how to use the natural leverage he has with his height, and is able to get a nice downward plane on his fastball. Considering that, Beam has developed a good, natural bite to his fastball. It has good sink down and away from lefties and it tails in under the hands of righties. In other words, no one could accuse T.J. of having a straight fastball. Not to mention, his command of his fastball is also a strong point for T.J. Beam.

Other Pitches. Besides a well above average fastball, Beam also possesses a wicked slider. When he is right, the slider can be downright dominating. The thing is, his command is usually excellent with his slider as it is with his fastball. He can have hitter's flailing at this tight, hard slider. Beam's slider is in the 82-85 MPH range. However, his lack of a good third pitch is what has hurt him. T.J. has fiddled with a changeup but just can't seem to find any consistency with it.

Pitching. The best way to describe T.J. Beam would be as a power, one-two punch type of pitcher. However, he seems to usually get hit hard by the third time through the batting order. He can dominate a couple times through the order with two plus pitches, but the fact that he does not have a good third pitch doesn't bode well for him in a starting role. Disregarding that for a moment, Beam is not afraid to go right after a hitter by going up in the zone with a blazing four seam fastball and can bury a moving fastball on a batter's hands as well. To put it simply, he is able to max out his pitching ability considering he only has two dependable pitches.

Projection. He has been primarily a starter in his time in the Yankee Farm System but the fact is that his future is as a relief pitcher. Beam has two plus pitches, so the 24 old may be able to flourish in the bullpen as a setup man or a closer. There isn't a doubt that he has an intimidating physique and he has the raw stuff to dominate in short outings. His lack of a third good pitch just won't allow him to be a starter. Considering there is really no room for him on any Yankee Farm Team starting staff, this move to the pen is all but inevitable for T.J. Beam.

ETA. 2007. He is already 24 years of age, so the Yankees have to get this guy moving in a hurry. Beam is already a lock for the Tampa Yankee bullpen in 2005 and could even possibly begin the season in AA Trenton with a strong spring training. Either way, it is conceivable that he will be in Trenton at some point in 2005. Then, look for him to be a full time reliever for the Columbus Clippers in 2006. After that, if he is still around, look for him to compete for a bullpen spot on the Yankees in the spring of 2007. Beam will be almost 27 by then but relief prospects seems to, historically, have longer shelf lives.

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