Yankees promote promising young starter to Triple-A

clayton beeter, yankees
Somerset Patriots players meet on the mound on Aug. 4, 2022. Somerset Patriots Players Meet On The Mound On Aug 4 2022

In July last season, the Yankees were able to find a suitor for the struggling Joey Gallo as they shipped him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a one-for-one deal, as the Yankees acquired RHP Clayton Beeter in return, and he immediately took off for the Somerset Patriots.

While command has been an issue he’s battled throughout his tenure in professional baseball, the former top-75 pick has developed as a starter and flashes plenty of upside.

With high-level stuff and plenty of buzz surrounding him ever since being traded to the Bronx, the Yankees are finally giving him a crack at Triple-A with the Scranton RailRiders.

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Turning the Corner With the Yankees

Clayton Beeter was getting shelled with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, as while he had a strikeout rate above 36%, he was giving up 1.74 HR/9 and had a 5.75 ERA. This paired with the fact that he hadn’t recorded five innings in a start yet, meant that he seemed destined to become a reliever. This all changed when he was traded to the Yankees, who still believed in him as a potential starter.

One of the things the Yankees did extremely well was to progressively build him up to be a consistent starter, as they waited until his last start of the 2022 season to push him to complete the fifth inning.

Beeter would post a 2.15 ERA and strike out 41 batters across 25.1 IP, but as referenced earlier, wouldn’t complete five innings until his final start of the regular season. This left 2022 with positive results, but still, plenty to prove for the 24-year-old as he entered the 2023 season. He’d start with a 4.1 IP performance where he allowed just one run and struck out seven but followed this start by getting his first win at the professional level, setting a career-high in innings pitched in a start (6.2) and not allowing a run in the process. Pitching deeper into games seems to come with the side effect of worse command and slightly reduced velocity.

Through the first two months of the season, he had a strong 2.66 ERA, but he also had a 3.79 FIP, 27.1% K%, and 13.0% BB%, signs that he was due for regression and not particularly ready for a promotion.

In June, however, he seemed to hit his stride on the mound. He’d go on a stretch where in three starts, he punched out 24 batters to just six walks while allowing just one run. Beeter’s ERA on the season sat at 2.08, and while his walks are still a concern, the Yankees wanted to expedite his development by putting him just one step away from the Bronx.

New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium

So far, with the Yankees, he has a strong 2.09 ERA and 2.92 FIP in 86 innings with a 20.8% K-BB%. While it remains to be seen whether Beeter will pan out as a starter or reliever at the Major League level, it’s hard to really view Beeter as anything less than an exciting prospect that could potentially impact the Yankees this season. He’s flashed elite-level stuff, averaging 95 MPH on his fastball last season with over 18 inches of induced vertical break, making it one of the best fastballs in their farm system.

Combined with a strong slider and developing curveball, Beeter is beginning to form a more diverse arsenal that can work against right-handed and left-handed batters too.

If he’s able to find consistency with his release and mechanics, his stuff is so good that he can handle MLB lineups, but that command seems to be the large variable here.

Regardless, the Yankees are making a bold move promoting him this early into the season, but if all goes well, they’ll view him as a potential bullpen or spot start piece as the summer carries on.