9. Jordan Beck (496 points, 24 ballots)
Beck, who turns 22 in April, was Colorado’s third pick in the 2022 (38th overall in Competitive Balance Round A) but was ranked very closely to the first two picks (No. 14 PuRP Sterlin Thompson and TBA PuRP Gabriel Hughes) by most national scouts as a potential impact player. The 6’3”, 225 pounder, who played all three outfield positions at Tennessee with good athleticism and raw power, signed for an above slot $2.2 million bonus ($2.05 million slot).
Beck’s draft-year season at Tennessee was excellent. He hit .298/.391/.595 with 18 home runs among his 36 extra-base hits in 297 plate appearances against the toughest pitching college baseball has to offer. Like fellow early-pick outfielder Thompson, Beck was assigned to the ACL team in early August. In 57 plate appearances with the ACL team, Beck hit .306/.404/.469 (141 wRC+), including a home run and five doubles. That is a strong and encouraging offensive line (the higher drafted Thompson’s wRC+ was just 97 in comparison), but of course a high collegiate draft pick has a high expectation at the complex level.
Also like Thompson, Beck got a late season look at Low-A Fresno, where he was league average age. In 11 games at Fresno down the stretch, Beck posted another 52 strong plate appearances with a .282/.462/.487 line that included two homers, two doubles, and 13 walks (25% of PA) against nine strikeouts (17%). That 153 wRC+ eclipsed both Beck’s ACL production and the Low-A line of Thompson (a still strong 124 wRC+) during the same period. Beck played about every day with Fresno, split between left and right field in deference to fellow PuRP Benny Montgomery.
One interesting plotline to follow this spring is where the Rockies will put their A-ball outfielders. Between Montgomery, Beck, Thompson, Yanquiel Fernandez, and Juan Guerrero, there are four PuRPs and one receiving votes who are probably ready for a look at High-A pitching. The presence of the DH and Thompson’s infield utility will help, but the prioritization of playing time in the field (or if one or two start in Low-A) will be quite instructive as to how the Rockies see those prospects. It’s a good problem to have and I expect High-A to be pretty stacked in 2023, given the presence of those players as well as Adael Amador, (maybe) Warming Bernabel, Jaden Hill, and Gabriel Hughes — that’s six of the top nine PuRPs this time around!
Here’s some video of Beck at Tennessee in 2022 courtesy of Prospects Worldwide, including him hitting a ball out at Minute Maid Park in Houston:
Keith Law of the Athletic was highest on Beck in the draft, ranking him 14th overall:
Beck has risen up draft boards this spring with a solid, but hardly spectacular, performance, but one that is also supported by tools and athleticism that give scouts reason to believe he can continue to improve in pro ball. Beck has a great build for a hitter, 6-3, 225, with quick wrists and huge raw power that has yet to show up consistently in games, even though he plays in a homer-friendly stadium in Knoxville. He’s very rotational at the plate and has the strength to drive the ball out to all fields, but his approach and pitch recognition have held him back. He’s shown weakness on the outer half, especially on sliders, and expands the zone away too easily.
Law just ranked Beck 9th in the system last week:
Beck was their third pick, 38th overall, in the 2022 draft, off a spring at Tennessee where he showed first-round tools with too much swing and miss. The swing is powerful, though, with great bat speed from his quick wrists, and there’s 25-30 home run power in here if hits enough to get to it in time. He played right field for the Vols because they had Drew Gilbert, who would become the Astros’ first-round pick, in center, but Beck has the speed and athleticism to play center in pro ball and the Rockies should put him there until he proves otherwise. It would not surprise me at all if he ended up the best player out of the Rockies’ 2022 draft class.
Baseball Prospectus slotted Beck 11th in their November system look:
Beck broadly fits with what [the Rockies] tend to target in college bats—a corner masher with a bit more defensive versatility than you’d expect. He generates plus-plus raw power and is reasonably short to the ball for a slugger. The swing does have some stiffness, and it’s not amazing bat speed, so Beck can be a bit late on velocity away. I’d worry about swing-and-miss in the zone generally, given how much he’s looking to lift. Beck fits best defensively in right field, but could sneak some time in all three spots if he maintains his athleticism in his 20s. He’ll need to zero in on the pitches he can actually drive, and do damage when he swings, but there’s enough power potential here—even before accounting for Coors—to project an everyday middle-of-the-order bat down the line.
MLB.com ranked Beck 23rd overall among 2022 draft prospects (ahead of Hughes and Thompson) and slotted him in ninth in the system (curiously, behind Hughes and Thompson) as a 50 FV prospect, drawing comparisons to Hunter Renfroe:
Beck uses his bat speed, strength and the leverage in his 6-foot-3 frame to create well-above-average raw power to all fields. He gets too aggressive at the plate, however, and he struggled to make contact and drive the ball with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer. Developing more discipline and making adjustments against breaking balls and changeups helped him make the leap Renfroe did.
Beck runs very well for his size, displaying solid speed and the ability to steal an occasional base. His plus arm strength adds to his profile in right field, where he’s a better-than-average defender. Although he didn’t play center field for the Volunteers because they had fellow Draft prospect Drew Gilbert, he did see some action in center on the Cape and may merit a look there in pro ball.
The profile is highlighted by a 60 arm grade as well as 55 grades on his power, speed, and fielding.
Kiley McDaniel of ESPN.com ranked Beck 25th among 2022 draft prospects (also just ahead of Hughes and Thompson) and placed him 9th in the system (still just ahead of Colorado’s first two picks) with a 45 FV grade last week:
The 6-3 Beck is an excellent athlete with easy plus raw power and above-average speed, but a swing designed for power that needs to be dialed in a bit.
Fangraphs was a bit less enthusiastic, ranking Beck just 70th on its draft rankings and placing him 16th in the system as a 40 FV player:
Beck is a standard right field prospect, with a hulking frame, above-average power, and a hit tool that is likely to mature a little below average because of his tendency to pull off of sliders away from him, even ones that finish in the zone.
I ranked Beck just ahead of Hughes and Thompson on my list — ninth overall as a 45 FV prospect. Scouts like Beck’s raw power, defensive utility, and athleticism but have concerns with his approach at the plate and the swing and miss in his game. The former traits give Beck a high ceiling but the latter traits make it less likely he attains that ceiling. The Rockies now have quite a bit of system depth in the outfield (five to seven of them are on this PuRPs list depending on final positional fit), including at least two with star ceilings. We’ll see where Beck fits in that group as he gets significant minor league reps for the first time.