Beck a potential second-round steal
White Sox believe increased weight resulted in velocity drop
CHICAGO -- It remains to be seen which Chris Beck the White Sox selected with the 76th pick of the First-Year Player Draft.
Beck, a 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher from Georgia Southern, excelled his sophomore season with a 9-5 record and a 3.23 ERA. He followed that performance with a stellar summer as an All-Star in the Cape Cod League, posting a 2.12 ERA with a mid-90s fastball.
He was projected as a possible top-10 talent before his junior year, when his velocity went down. Beck finished this season with a 6-7 record and a 3.91 ERA in 16 starts, causing him to drop a few slots in the Draft.
"We were watching the Draft unfold," Beck said. "Just because of the year, we weren't looking for anything absolutely spectacular to happen. We were looking toward the supplemental round.
"It got later in and we were watching what was going to happen. There was a little bit of aggravation there and still the suspense of what's going to go on, where am I going?"
Doug Laumann, the White Sox director of amateur scouting, originally had Beck projected as a possible candidate for the No. 13 pick before the season. When Beck fell to the second round, Laumann and the White Sox made the move.
"We felt like we've got a chance to get a guy that's a potential first-round talent here with our pick at 76 in the second round," Laumann said.
Not only does Laumann think he may have gotten a steal with Beck, but that he may know the key to getting the righty back to his previous form.
"He didn't have a good year," Laumann said. "He had a great Cape last summer and we put video up from him last year this year, and he gained 35 pounds from last July to this March, lifting [in the] weight room.
"His coaches told him, 'You need to get big, you need to get strong. The bigger you get, the stronger you get, the better you're going to be.' He just got so big and so strong and so bulky that it inhibited his delivery."
It's no mystery what Beck can accomplish when he's on his game. He was the No. 2 ranked Cape Cod League prospect, complementing his above-average fastball with a slider and changeup.
Beck said White Sox scout Kevin Burrell was one of the first people he talked to while pitching in the summer, so it wasn't surprising when he heard from Burrell before this year's Draft.
"He called me a good two or three times last week," Beck said. "He asked, 'How's the arm? Are you healthy?' We had a little bump in velocity going down this year. I threw a lot between starts trying to work on mechanical stuff, but I'm good.
"They went to every extreme to make sure they got a good pick, and I hope I can fulfill that."
Beck still managed to record consecutive 100 strikeout seasons, fanning 115 batters with 29 walks in 2012. He said he's still working on his mechanics and how to approach hitters and prepare between starts.
"I kind of got away from that," Beck said. "I just need work on that and let that go and start pitching. It'll be a new adventure out there."
If the White Sox can return Beck to his previous form, they may get a top-10 talent. Regardless, the South Siders will have a player in the second round they know they can sign, which was a priority for the ballclub.
"We called Kevin Burrell with the White Sox and told him we're looking to sign and sign now," Beck said. "They made a great deal, and I'm happy to be [with the White Sox] and I'm glad the organization chose me."
Rowan Kavner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.