Without a doubt, pitching was one of the major strengths of the Lansing Lugnuts’ 2012 season. Whether it was starting pitching or relief, the pitching staff did a great job keeping the Lugnuts in each game all year. One of such pitchers who made an impact on the team was Casey Beck, who made his second trip to Michigan in late August while rehabbing his arm from Tommy John surgery which shortened both of his 2011 and 2012 seasons.
But Beck’s path to the Blue Jays’ low-A affiliate was different from most. In fact, the now 25-year-old began his professional career in the Atlanta Braves organization, after being selected in the 8th round of the 2006 MLB draft out of San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas. Beck was 0-3 with a 2.63 ERA with 32 strikeouts, 22 walks, and three saves in 24 innings of work in his only season at San Jacinto.
Beck began his career with the GCL Braves in 2006. Appearing in eight games, Beck was 0-0 with a 1.69 ERA with eight strikeouts, six walks, in 10 2/3 innings of work. He joined the Dansville Braves in 2007 where he recorded a 1-2 record with a 7.71 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings of work. In 2008, The young prospect became a member of the Rome Braves, appearing in 30 games, going 1-4 with a 4.75 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings of work.
“I enjoyed my time with the Braves organization and [I] am thankful for the amount I learned throughout the levels that I played for, ” Beck said about his seasons with the Braves.
Despite finding success and enjoying his time with the organization, the Braves unfortunately decided to release the young right-hander after his 2008 season. Despite this, however, Beck’s career was far from over, as the Blue Jays signed him to a minor league deal quickly into the off-season.
“It was good signing with Toronto. After playing a couple of years in the Braves organization, I got released, and so I was obviously looking for a job and hopeful someone would sign me. I was lucky and thankful that the Blue Jays believed in my abilities,” Beck said.
“I was really excited to be given a second opportunity to play professional baseball! Some don’t get the chance at all, and I was given a second chance.”
Beck grabbed every opportunity he could get and joined the Auburn Doubledays for the 2009 season appearing in 29 games going 1-3 with a 2.84 ERA with 43 strikeouts, 17 walks, and ten saves in 31 2/3 innings of work.
Beck admitted that he was proud of his accomplishments he found within the Blue Jays’ organization and spoke briefly about the success his pitch repertoire has given him. “I use both a four-seam and a two-seam fastball as well as a change-up and slider.”
“My fastball is usually low to mid 90’s. I consider my fastball and change-up my strengths. I use my slider right now for a show pitch.”
Beck’s success in Auburn earned him a promotion to the Lansing Lugnuts in 2010. While in Lansing, Beck went 1-3 with a 3.74 ERA with 54 strikeouts, 23 walks, and six saves in 43 1/3 innings of work.
After a successful season in Lansing, the young righty was promoted to the Dunedin Blue Jays for the 2011 season. Beck went 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA with five strikeouts, in nine innings of work before his season was unfortunately abruptly ended due to requiring Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm.
“My time in Dunedin was good the short time I was there. I spent most of the year battling my arm, but I got through it,” Beck said of his 2011 season.
This past August, Beck was able to return to baseball again and spent a late 2012 season with both the Bluefield Blue Jays and the Lansing Lugnuts, recording a 1-1 record with a 0.00 ERA with eight strikeouts, in six innings of work between the two teams.
“Presently, my arm is up and down. I’m still getting used to the recovery time. But it no longer hurts and I’m so thankful to still be getting the chance to go out there – that’s really all I can ask for.”
Beck is presently looking forward to his next season. “My goal for 2013 is to continue working hard and staying healthy. I hope to have a successful full season next year.”