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2018 Red Sox top prospect voting: Jalen Beeks seeks the final step

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Jalen Beeks is on the cusp of the majors, and is our fifth-rated prospect

Portland Sea Dogs Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

We’re outside of the top four of this Red Sox system, and therefore we are no longer in the one part of the organization in which there is a consensus on who the top prospects are. From here on out, every list that has been published from experts has varied, and ours has apparently taken a turn of its own as well. Coming in at number five and taking 44 percent of the last vote is left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks.

It hasn’t been so long since we talked about Beeks, but we can go into a little more detail with his background here. Andrew Benintendi’s former college teammate, Beeks was drafted by the Red Sox out of the University of Arkansas in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. With his being a late selection, there obviously wasn’t a ton of fanfare around the pick but he’s slowly and steadily made his way through the system and is not right on the cusp of making it to the majors.

Beeks pitched in the GCL immediately upon being drafted, and while he pitched well it was only for two relief appearances and five total innings. From there, he moved onto Greenville for 26 starts in 2015. His 4.32 ERA and slightly over six strikeouts per nine innings weren’t great, Beeks did show the best control of his professional career that season. From there, he’d start 2016 in Salem and earned himself a midseason promotion to Portland. Somewhat surprisingly, the lefty performed even better in Double-A towards the end of that season. He’d end up pitching the Arizona Fall League after that Portland stint, though it wasn’t the most impressive 12 innings of his career.

That led us to the 2017 season, one in which Beeks had a chance to really show he belonged. The lefty did just that when he started the year back in Portland. He made nine terrific starts in Double-A to start the year, striking out 58 batters and walking 22 in 49 13 innings, finishing that stint with an impressive 2.19 ERA. That was more than enough to earn him a promotion to Triple-A. Things fell off a bit for Beeks at the higher level, but he still made 17 starts in Pawtucket and finished with a 3.86 ERA and over a strikeout per inning. In just three full seasons he had already pitched more than half of a season at Triple-A and is on the cusp of the majors. Not bad for a 12th round pick.

For as impressive and wholesome as Beeks’ statlines have been in his professional career, the scouting reports still have some questions. For one thing, while the lefty has a large enough arsenal for a starter, none of his offerings truly stand out. The fastball can be above-average, though it certainly plays up much more in shorter stints. He has recently added a solid cutter into the mix and he also throws a changeup and curveball. The stuff isn’t dominant, though, and it limits his ceiling. There are also the size and delivery questions that have some thinking he may end up in the bullpen, though those are discussed in the link above. We’re going to learn a lot more about Beeks in 2018, and he could make the final step into the majors in that process.

Here’s what our list looks like so far:

  1. Jason Groome
  2. Michael Chavis
  3. Tanner Houck
  4. Bryan Mata
  5. Jalen Beeks

Now, we move on to the sixth spot on our list. As always, head down into the comments and “rec” the comment corresponding the player for whom you’d like to vote. Make sure you’re a member of the blog before you do so of course. Additionally, if there is a player you’d like to vote for, leave a comment of your own saying “Vote for Player X here”. That comment will count as his first vote. For more information on this system, scroll to the bottom of this post. Until next time...