Clemson’s Junior RF, Seth Beer, was selected on Monday night in the first round of the MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. In 226 ABs this season, Seth Beer led the team in several key offensive statistics:
OBP: 1st (.456)
SLG: 1st (.642)
Walks: 1st (54)
HR: 1st (22)
Runs: 1st (64)
AVG: 2nd (.301)
RBI: 2nd (54)
Hits: 3rd (68)
Although Beer played primarily right field at Clemson, he is expected to make the shift to first base as a professional. Here’s what MLB.com’s Jim Callis said about the pick:
“Beer is probably the most polarizing player in the first round. He’s been as productive as any college hitter over the last three years while walking twice as much as he’s struck out. But he has no history of hitting with wood bats, struggling the last two summers with Team USA and on the showcase circuit. He’s also probably limited to first base only, rather than the outfield.” - Jim Callis
Beer definitely has some swing and miss to his game, but actually only struck out 36 times in 280 plate appearances for a 12.7% K-rate. That percentage is comparable to stars like Anthony Rizzo, Buster Posey, and Joey Votto. He is not a plus defender so his bat will have to carry him to the majors.
MLB teams generally don’t draft on immediate needs, but team needs and best available aligned for the Astros who are thin at first base. They currently start 33-year old Yuli Gurriel (.695 OPS in 182 ABs) at first base and do not have any first basemen listed in their top 30 prospects (their #4 prospect, Yordan Alvarez, was listed at 1B, but has since moved to LF.)
Regardless of what Seth Beer does as a professional, one thing is (about to be) guaranteed, his signing bonus. Official pick value for the 28th selection is $2,399,400. His agent will soon negotiate an agreement for a signing bonus around that value. With that, his success at Clemson has paid handsome dividends.
Hopefully, much more is to come though. The Tigers have not had a position player stick in the big leagues as a starter in recent memory. If Seth Beer can learn first base and keep his K-rate down against more advanced professional pitching, he’ll have a great opportunity to change that. Congratulations to Seth Beer!