Yankees' 2021 2nd-round pick Brendan Beck's Tommy John comeback off to amazing start

Stanford righty Beck has returned to the Yankees' system with guns blazing.
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

The Yankees used a second-round pick in 2021 on Stanford's ace right-hander Brendan Beck, famed for opting into wearing black jerseys in 106 degree heat for "Texas Tech's funeral." His trademarks were poise and maturity on the mound. He wouldn't wow you stuff-wise, but like fellow Cardinal Mike Mussina, he seemed likely to bring a cerebral approach to the Yankees' system (as well as a snapdragon curveball).

Unfortunately, Beck taking his foot off the gas pedal, velocity-wise, didn't keep his right arm any safer. Shortly after the draft, he was diagnosed with a torn UCL and forced to undergo Tommy John surgery.

The right-hander returned in 2023 after rehabbing diligently from that unavoidable menace, restarting his pro career at High-A Hudson Valley with the Renegades. The prognosis? Take it slow. This year's about building back up, not blowing the doors down. Just make strides, every single day. And hey, if the results come, they come.

So far, so good on that whole "results" thing. Beck has been limited to short spurts in his five starts with the 'Gades (and one in the Florida Complex League), never eclipsing four innings in any of them. His numbers during this adjustment period have been unexpectedly top-notch, though.

Despite harboring two absentee years between career milestones, Beck's polish has still shown through, as he carried a 0.50 ERA through his first 18 innings, striking out 21 and allowing 13 hits, three walks and a single home run.

On Tuesday, he lowered his Hudson Valley mark to 0.47 with four more shutout frames.

Yankees pitching prospect Brendan Beck maintains under-1.00 ERA in "rehab year"

Unfortunately, Beck was "slacking" in his most recent outings prior to Tuesday, allowing 12 hits in 10.1 innings (one, singular earned run allowed) for a BAA of .300. Glad he got that corrected before July concluded.

Don't let the "pitchability" tag fool you. Beck's stuff is still plenty nasty. His curve seems to have recovered nicely, post-procedure, and his collegiate slider was a thing of beauty, earning accolades from the one and only Pitching Ninja.

Beck's ETA may have changed in the intervening years between his selection and the present, but his compete level certainly hasn't.

Hopefully, he's gone far enough off the radar that trade-hungry teams at the deadline won't be bothering the Yankees about him, attempting to buy low in his diminished state.

Beck's surgery stopped him from being the fast riser the Yankees thought they were acquiring, but he remains a plus arm. The road might look different, but the player appears to be the same. Expect that rapid rise in 2024 and a potential big-league chance the next season, if New York is able to hold onto him.