Jays' top pick has commitment issues

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:08 AM ET

TORONTO - The Blue Jays drew a bead on their No. 1 pick last summer.

And with the 21st overall pick of the Major League Baseball draft, scouting director Andrew Tinnish tabbed right-hander Tyler Beede.

Now, their goal is to get Beede to sign a contract.

He wasn’t a name associated with Team CIA, under the Cone of Silence, but he was not a real surprise as he was ranked 33rd on the Perfect Game list of top 200 prospects and 35th on the Baseball America top 100.

It was surprising the area from whence he came: Massachusetts.

The state is not Florida, Texas, California or even Canada, which had its string of first rounders came to an end. There have been five in the previous four years: Canadian citizen Jameson Taillon of The Woodlands, Tex. to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kellin Deglan of Langley, B.C. to the Texas Rangers a year ago; James Paxton of Ladner, B.C. to the Jays in 2009, Langley’s Brett Lawrie to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 and Phillippe Aumont of Gatineau, Que. to the Seattle Mariners in 2007.

Massachusetts had not had a high school player picked in the first five rounds since 2003, when the Florida Marlins selected Jeff Allison in the first round.

“He dominates his competition,” Tinnish told reporters. “It wasn’t the same as scouting Aaron Sanchez (in California) or Noah Syndergaard (in Texas). But we got a good look at him on the showcase tour when he faced the best high schoolers in North America.”

Opposing scouts like Beede’s arm action, makeup, fastball, the way that he combs his hair and his numbers: He was 7-0 in eight starts for his high school championship team with a 0.32 ERA, walking six and striking out 89 in 44 innings.

What they wonder is if the Jays can sign Beede as he has signed a letter of intent to pitch for the Vanderbilt University Commodores.

Beede’s father, Walter Beede, was a 13th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1981 as a first baseman and played 27 games for Rookie Class Gulf Coast League as an 18-year-old before retiring. He’ll be able to tell his son what lies ahead in pro ball.

“I know this boy’s hopes and dreams are to pitch in the big leagues,” Tinnish said. “We lined up our board on ability, he was the next name. As far as him being committed to Vanderbilt, we feel we can sign him. We’ll need to work through those details in the coming days.”

The 21st pick a year ago — right-hander Alex Wimmers passed on a scholarship to Ohio State — when the Minnesota Twins gave him a $1,332,000-million US signing bonus.

And if the Jays don’t click on the Beede gamble, well they have six of the first 74 picks.

Beede has gained national attention since grade 10, pitching in the Aflac All-American Game in 2010. And he pitched in the Aflac game last year in San Diego.

Beede transferred before his senior year from his hometown Auburn High to Lawrence Academy, a prep school, to get into the academic flow for Vanderbilt.

The right-hander throws consistently in the 92-93 mph range.

“He throws on a downhill plane,” Tinnish said. “He’s very polished, he has a big frame and carries it well. I’ve seen him grow since last summer. He’s very athletic, when pitching he’d hit anywhere from lead-off to fourth with his high school team.”

Tinnish saw Beede pitch twice this spring and four times a year ago. As did GM Alex Anthopoulos, assistant GM Tony LaCava, pro scouting director Perry Minasian, cross checkers Dean Decilia, Marc Tramuta and Ross Bove, regional crosschecker Tom Burns and area scout Mike Pesce.

“He is able to repeat his delivery and throws strikes at a good clip,” Tinnish said. “He’s working on things you might see as 21-year-old. I saw him in April and he told me how he needed to improve his curve ball, so he changed his arm slot. He wanted to improve his tempo so he brought his hands over his head in his delivery.”

Blue Jays picks

21. RHP Tyler Beede, Auburn, Mass. HS

6’ 4” 200 lbs. ... Committed to Vanderbilt ... 92-93 mph, touches 94-96 ... Ranked 33rd in North America.

35. 1B Jacob Anderson, Chino, Calif. HS

6’ 4” 185 lbs ... Signed to attend Pepperdine, which means he’ll sign ... Ranked 157th, 9th High Schooler in California.

46. RHP Joe Musgrove, El Cajon, Calif. HS

6’5 230 lbs ... Committed to San Diego State ... Ranked 81st, 8th HSer in California

53. OF Dwight Smith, Jr., Peachtree City, Ga. HS

5’ 11” 180 lbs ... Son of ex-Cub, OF Dwight Smith ... Ranked 49th in N.A. ... Headed to Ga. Tech.

57. RHP Kevin Comer, Tabernacle, N.J. HS

6’4” 200 lbs ... Also committed to Vanderbilt ... Ranked 102nd


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