Tyler Beede was selected in the first round of the major-league draft three years ago but turned down the Toronto Blue Jays in favor of a college career. Matt Chapman went undrafted out of high school and played at Cal State Fullerton.
Both, though, are headed to Bay Area teams to begin their professional careers as first-round picks. The Giants on Thursday took Beede, a hard-throwing right-hander out of Vanderbilt, with the 14th overall pick, while the A’s used the 25th selection on Chapman, an infielder who played mostly third base for the Titans.
Beede, who was drafted 21st overall by Toronto out of high school in 2011, throws a mid-90s fastball and two breaking pitches and in 2013 was named one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate player.
John Barr, the Giants’ assistant general manager of scouting, said the Giants view Beede as a “pitcher who we feel has a chance of being a quality starter in the big leagues. (He’s) someone who I hate to set timetables on but has a chance of moving quickly.”
Beede, 21, won 14 games with a 2.10 ERA in 2013 before going 8-7 with a 3.20 ERA for Vanderbilt this spring. While some concerns have been raised over Beede’s command, he lowered his walk rate from 5.3 per nine innings in 2013 to 3.9 this spring.
“His control has continued to actually improve some this year,” Barr said on a conference call Thursday. “But at the same time, you can’t teach the arm that he has. We think as he continues to mature, his command should get better, continue to improve.”
Barr cited the Giants’ track record of developing pitchers – Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner were all first-round picks between 2002 and 2007 – and said that the Giants “feel like we have a pitcher here that’s not only a quality pitcher but a quality person, a kid who’s going to work hard.”
First, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound native of Auburn, Mass., is set to pitch against Stanford on Friday in the NCAA Super Regionals. The first Vanderbilt player to go in the first round since A’s right-hander Sonny Gray in 2011, Beede said in his biography on the program’s websitethat his “second-best talent” is rapping.
The A’s, meanwhile, used their first pick on Chapman, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior who batted .312 with six homers and a team-high 48 RBIs for Cal State Fullerton this spring. Chapman also drew 27 walks for a .412 on-base percentage but said that he considers defense to be his greatest asset.
“I would say I was the best (defensive) third baseman in college baseball (this spring),” Chapman told reporters on a conference call. “That’s my personal opinion. I know my arm strength and glove can change a game defensively and help my team out.”
A’s scouting director Eric Kubota said the A’s also believe Chapman has “a chance to be an elite defender at third base.
“He’s the kind of guy who’s just fun to watch throw,” Kubota said. “We think his bat is ever-improving, and we think there’s untapped power there. We think this is a guy who’s going to develop into a power hitter as his career progresses.”
While playing for the U.S. collegiate national team in 2013, Chapman also pitched in two games and opened eyes with a fastball clocked in the high 90s, but Kubota said the A’s consider him strictly an infielder. Chapman said he thinks he “flew under the radar” in high school before growing several inches and adding about 20 pounds in college, where he played shortstop as a freshman before moving primarily to third base.
Chapman said he worked out several days ago for the A’s at the Coliseum and added: “I know the A’s play old-school, hard-nosed baseball and they play as a team, and that’s exactly how I go about my business. I think it’s a great fit.”
A native of Trabuco Canyon in Southern California, Chapman grew up as an Angels fan. “But it’s never too late to change your favorite team, right?” he said.
With their second-round pick (No. 52 overall), the Giants selected Florida International University catcher Aramis Garcia, who batted .368 with eight homers and 37 RBIs as a junior in 2014. The A’s in the second round (65th overall) took Clemson right-hander Daniel Gossett, who was 7-2 with a 1.93 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 1071/3 innings as a junior this spring.
Another Southern California kid, left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken, went No. 1 overall to the Houston Astros out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego. Right-hander Tyler Kolek of Shepherd (Texas) High School went second to the Miami Marlins. Left-hander Carlos Rodon, widely considered the best college pitching prospect in the draft, was taken third overall by the Chicago White Sox out of North Carolina State.
With the fifth overall pick, the Minnesota Twins took infielder Nick Gordon, the son of former major-league closer Tom Gordon and brother of Dodgers infielder Dee Gordon.