Matt Beaty – Beating a Path to MLB

Spring training is well under way and the so-called meaningless games have once again become more than meaningful, especially for young players trying to make an impression on the many eyes watching them. And, making that all important favorable first impression is going well for a number of Dodger youngsters. Kyle Farmer, Will Smith, Keibert Ruiz, DJ Peters, Omar Estevez, Edwin Rios, Jake Peter, Alex Verdugo , among others, are drawing their fair share of attention.

Another young man is also making his mark as the pre-season games prepare us all for the 2018 season of Dodger baseball.  That young man recently moved up to No. 23 on the MLB Pipeline Top 30 prospect list after debuting at No. 30 in January. All Matt Beaty does is hit.

Beaty was born in Dresden, Tennessee and played four years of baseball with the Dresden High School Lions. In each of his four seasons with the team he led the Lions in home runs, batting average, and runs batted in. As a junior he hit 19 home runs and drove in 61 runs in a year when he had exactly zero strikeouts. Beaty earned All-State honors three times and was a two-time District Player of the Year.

Following his 2014 season Matt Beaty played with the Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League which is a collegiate summer league. He led the Bullfrogs with a .296 batting average and was selected to the Big League Dreams showcase as well as the MVP on the Bulldogs. During his summer season he registered 15 multi-hit games and walked 31 times compared to 25 strikeouts.

Beaty’s senior year in 2015 at Belmont University in Nashville was a banner year. He hit .382 along with 91 hits, 12 home runs and 76 runs batted in while posting a .469 OBP and a .668 slugging percentage. He walked 32 times while striking out only 17 times.

He was selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft and has just kept on hitting.

Following a six-game stop with the Ogden Raptors in 2015 in which he had 12 hits in six games, Beaty posted a .297 batting over 62 games with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.

His 2016 season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League was pretty much a mirror image of his 2015 campaign as he again posted a .297 batting average along with 11 home runs and 88 runs batted in.

Beaty moved on to the Tulas Drillers of the Texas League in  2017 and after a bit of a slow start in the first half in which he hit .289,  he burned through the second half of the season with a .357 batting average. On the season he posted a triple slash of .326/.378/.505 along with 15 home runs, 31 doubles and 69 runs batted in.

The 24-year-old  Beaty won the batting championship in the Texas League in 2017 and was named the Texas League Player of the Year. More important than the accolades, he saw a marked difference  in his hitting style and his power to which he gives credit to, “launch angle”, and the Dodgers development team.

“I saw my launch angle go from a six in Rancho all the way to a 14 last year in Tulsa. That brought more power. The ground-ball rollovers to second base started turning into doubles in the gaps. I really worked hard hitting last season with Gibby and Craig Wallenbrock.”

Following a trip to the Arizona Fall League in which he had two home runs and six doubles among his 16 hits, Beaty received an invitation to spring training with the Dodgers certainly fulfilling one of his baseball dreams.

“It’s a dream come true to be invited to big league camp. I just want to learn,” Beaty said. “I want to talk to [Justin Turner] and ask him about third base stuff. Talk to [Cody Bellinger] and ask him how it was being a rookie and talk about first base with him. Just pick everybody’s brains to learn as much as I can.”

Drillers manager, Scott Hennessey, is a huge Matt Beaty supporter and why not.? The 6’0”/210-pound budding utility player displays a confidence in himself, has a work ethic second to none and an unquenchable desire to learn and improve. Hennessey delighted in advising Beaty he had been selected to participate in the 2017 Arizona Fall League.

“I guess the first thing that comes to my mind is a kid in a candy store, because he hasn’t been touted as a prospect or a guy who would maybe get to do that,” Hennessey said. “He forced everybody’s hand. He earned it and he deserved it.”

“He hits velocity, hits left-handers, hits breaking balls. There’s nothing he can’t do offensively,” Hennessey said. “On defense, you can plug him into first, third, left.”

Beaty’s versatility, Character and bat has helped shorten the path he is beating down to get to MLB.  His path may deviate away from Dodger Stadium as a number of hurdles (players) are in  front of him. His value to the team may be more apparent during the next Rule 5 drafting day in December when the Dodgers will either have to protect him or perhaps lose him to another team.

In the meantime, he is enjoying beating down a path to MLB wherever it leads, as well as feasting on the development system into which he was fortunate to have been drafted.

Matt Beaty puts it very simply: “I’ve loved putting on the Dodger Blue.”

Photo Credit:  Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers

This article has 44 Comments

    1. when he is playing 3b, that should make cory look short and look the right size to play ss

  1. Another HR. Let’s hope they can take advantage of Kemp’s performance and get someone to take him.
    Hopefully it won’t take a significant prospect.

  2. …after I finished laughing
    I think I may have figured it all out…
    Will lay hands upon Kemps Afro and an MVP year will sprout, spring, shoot, bounce or otherwise propel forth astestimonyKempermony and $20 Mil, will be seen as a steal.

  3. Clayton Kershaw lifetime ERA progression:
    2008 – 4.26
    2009 – 3.36
    2010 – 3.17
    2011 – 2.88
    2012- 2.79
    2013 – 2.60
    2014 – 2.48
    2015 – 2.43
    2016 – 2.37
    2017 – 2.36

  4. DC you have a nice writing style! With Peters getting MVP in High A, Beatty MVP in AA and Font getting pitcher of the year at AAA last season these Dodgers farmhands are getting noticed and a deserved chance to make an impression this spring. All 3 seem to be making the most of their opportunity which bodes well for their futures and the teams. I like the way kids are rewarded for production and fast tracked. More than one player will ‘break out’ this season and force the teams hand. My top picks right now are Font and Verdugo and perhaps Buehler to be one of those that make the leap at some point this year. Thompson is a defensive liability in my mind and that’s what Beatty needs to work on as well, he can definitely hit.

    1. agred. this was an informative and well-written piece. if beaty was vaguely on my radar before, he is on my watchlist now.

  5. Beaty is probably best suited to first base and that track is full. FPCT of .991 in 55 games. He can play the outfield and that track is also full. He most likely is not well suited to third base but he is a gamer so don’t count anything out.

    Justin Turner bounced around in positions for several years until settling in as an unlikely 3B and like Matt Beaty he could always hit. The Mets thought he had a bad attitude for which we thank them. Beaty has the same unquenchable thirst to get better, a similar character and a strong work ethic. He will actually will himself to play MLB.

    His path to MLB may be through Rule 5, a trade or the least best option which is a seven-year servitude to minor league free agency. There may also be a track to LA if injury or trades at the MLB level happen. He will get there. He is a player.

      1. The only thing I might have heard was they weren’t buying into JT’s swing change.

  6. DC I followed Beaty last year and read a few articles on him that described him as you have. I hate to see promising players such as Beaty who have that work ethic and drive getting forced out because of other talented Dodger players. I agree with you, first base is closed to him and most likely third base also. Hope the Dodgers can find a place for him, maybe move him to the Dodgers next year as a backup for Bellinger and Turner plus some time in left field, let’s see if he can make his place on the team.

    1. I would love that and so would Matt. He has high praise for the Dodgers development system. He would be a Ron Fairly type first baseman in terms of production and defense. Next year is pivotal for him as he turns 25 this April.

  7. Matt Beaty is another in the line of Willie Calhoun and Edwin Rios who are left hand hitting machines but lack a true defensive position. All three are good enough offensive players that they will become MLB players with a healthy career, but all three are probably not as a Dodger. Willie Calhoun has already moved on, and I think Edwin Rios is destined for the same trade deadline move this year. I believe Matt is a better overall athlete as he was a high school SS/C/P and college catcher. I think Matt Beaty will get a long look in LF this year, and that should markedly increase his market value.
    His bat will continue to play very well this year at OKC, and that will go far to determine if Matt should be added to the 40 man in September for the drive to the pennant. Another LH bat on the bench is certainly not going to hurt. Matt is certainly a better option than another Curtis Granderson experiment. Regardless, Matt is a lock to be added to the 40 man before the Rule 5 Draft next December. At the very least, Matt’s floor will be a hit first utility corner inf/of, along the lines of Rob Segedin. One additional advantage that Matt brings is that he can also be an emergency catcher.
    There are so many things to like about Matt, but I truly think that DC hit on his best trait…Desire. All players have desire, but not all players have Capital D Desire.

    1. Those kink of guys make good bench players especially if they fully accept that role. Higher risk, higher reward players need to play everyday.

  8. Fun read DC! And you sold me! Beaty is now my #1 prospect as grace goes miles with me and that’s what puts him in the #1 slot. The kind of energy we want packaged in our team. Gotta hope he remains with Dodgers. We’ve seen so many slip away from Dodgers in the past that we know how Mets and their fans feel. It’s too painful to start thinking some names of the ones that got away.

  9. I just saw the highlight of Verdugo Hr yesterday. He went opposite field. This guy looks like he belongs in LF for us for the next 15 years. He has rookie of the year written all over him. Wow. Granted he’ll start the year in AAA but he’s ready now.

    1. I was thinking the same thing and commented yesterday that Joc has never consistently done that, instead trying to pull everything right into the shift. Verdugo might not make the opening roster but he won’t be down long. He has a sweet swing designed for line drives and uses the whole field. He can handle all 3 OF spots although probably not an every day CF but his arm is very good. I am glad they would not trade him at the deadline last year. My other fave Font gets a big test today against the Cubs and will probably get stretched out a bit. He is the natural replacement for Koehler as a long man/spot starter and has out pitched both Stripling and Stewart so far.

      1. I was surprised to read that Doc has anointed Stripling one of his definite five relievers so far.

      2. just for fun: rank the current dodgers by pure raw power. i’ll go first

        1. bellinger
        2. puig
        3. joc
        4. grandal
        5. seager

        i thought about flipping joc and grandal. i’ll wait until kemp makes them team but he’d be top five. i’m sure i forgot someone.

        1. Puig is more of a line drive hitter and would have to get higher launch angles to put him into the power category IMO. Bellinger’s 39 home runs last year clearly puts him at the top. All Star Home Run Derby results puts Joc in the raw power category and based on that alone, takes Kemp and Puig out of that category 😉

          1. I would flip Joc and Puig. Puig seems to be learning to use his power still. I think we saw the beginning of it last year. I think Kemp and Toles may have more pure power than Seager too if we can count Kemp yet.

          2. fair. when joc gets into one it goes really far. i’d love to see him go oppo more. that’s where true power resides. piazza was always my favorite in that regard but did kemp did have his majestic oppo field stroke that was surely purty.

    1. Raw power doesn’t mean a thing, if a player can’t hit consistently!

      That is the difference with Cody and Joc.

  10. i wish peter could make the team but utley has him “blocked. ” best case scenario might find him raking at AAA while playing 2b (and some 3b) while giving us something to look forward tomlater in the season and possibly in 2019 in a larger role. never forget chris taylor couldn’t even make the team until well into the season (not to mention bellinger). we as our front office frequently says, we will have major leaguer players in AAA to begin the year.

    as for beaty, i don’t think we’ll need him until 2019 at the earliest. i’m sure we’ll emphasize his positional versatility in his development this season.

  11. If Seager can stay injury free I still see him at 3nd base relatively soon. His elbow problems scare me into thinking he may have to go to the right side of the infield at some point soon. IDK. At any rate I’d like to see the Dodgers with a defensive whiz at shortstop sometime soon. I’m a traditionalist though. I’d like to see pitching dominate the game again.

    1. I think Seager hurt his back sliding late last year and doesn’t have chronic issues with it. His elbow might need surgery but the rest he have it this winter might have corrected that issue as well.
      Seager recently said: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
      Or was that Twain?

  12. Font is imploding!

    I do not think this is how he should be used. Let’s see him come in later in the game.

    Font lasted 2/3 of an inning and he gave up 6 hits and 6 runs.Ouch!

    1. He is back from Hand Surgery and they were never going to let him bat. At least right now…

      He knew that in advance!

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