Highly-rated Yankees pitching prospect suffers devastating year-long setback

Stanford pitcher Brendan Beck (20) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against Vanderbilt during game
Stanford pitcher Brendan Beck (20) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against Vanderbilt during game / George Walker IV / Tennessean.com via

In 2021's second round, the New York Yankees traded a polished, dogged collegiate ace who asked his Stanford team to wear jet black jerseys in the scorching heat of postseason play to help him evoke a funeral. He seemed near-big league ready, and discussions of fast-tracking were already in place by the time the righty signed on the dotted line, evoking Mike Mussina's wise-beyond-his-years impact potential.

Three years later, Stanford's Brendan Beck has given the Yankees 34 professional innings across 10 abbreviated starts. He won't add any to the docket during 2024, which officially became a lost season for Beck on Wednesday afternoon.

Buried on the transaction wire was the knife plunge that Beck was transferred to the "full-season injured list" after undergoing a mysterious surgical procedure prior to the season. The righty, who Damon Oppenheimer called a possible "high-end starter" post-draft while touting his closeness to the bigs, previously underwent Tommy John surgery after ramping up to debut for Low-A Tampa in 2021.

Yankees prospect Brendan Beck hits year-long IL after surgery

Beck's brief cameo in 2023, after a reported full recovery from Tommy John, featured nothing but an unrelenting string of four-inning starts ... but the process was working. Through his first 19 innings with the Renegades, he carried an 0.47 ERA, repeatedly piling up blank frames in his attempt to return to the Yankees' plans. All told, he allowed just six runs and two homers in the abbreviated season (one to Jett Williams, the über athletic Mets infield prospect).

Beck's season ended when he was silently plopped on the minors' nebulous "7-Day Injured List" last August following his final 4 2/3 inning outing. That list is designed to be mysterious; the resulting news drop could result in a seven-day breather or surgical intervention.

Naturally, with Beck, it was merely a precursor of a worst-case scenario for a Yankees chip whose body refuses to allow him to get on track.

Someday, Beck may be an integral workhorse in a revamped Yankees rotation. Unfortunately, no matter how his career turns out, his pro readiness in 2021 was greatly overstated.