- Rating: 5.06
- Age: Turned 25 on September 18
- 2021 Stats: 5 G, 10 PA, .444/.500/.889 = 1.389 OPS, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0.1 bWAR/0.2 fWAR
- 2021 Earnings: pro-rated league minimum
- 2022 Status: 40-Man Roster, three option years remaining
Seth Beer was selected by the Houston Astros out of Clemson in the first round (28th) of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft. The scouting on Beer was that he had an advanced bat with good present power and the potential for 70-grade power if he tapped into it more. Beer lived up to that report, flying through all three levels of A-ball before the end of that summer. He opened the 2019 season, returning to A+ Fayetteville, where he continued to assault baseballs with impunity, posting a 1.016 OPS across 152 plate appearances. Having left the Astros with no choice, Beer was promoted to AA Corpus Christi, where he started creating a buzz that he could actually arrive in the Majors by season’s end. In 280 plate appearance (234 AB), Beer posted a sterling .950 OPS. While this is not unheard of, reaching AA and finding that level of success less that a full calendar year after being drafted is quite impressive. While Beer was making noise in the minors as Houston’s best hitting prospect, the Astros were making noise in the Majors, looking to make a second trip to the World Series in as many seasons. To facilitate that aspiration, the Astros decided they needed more pitching. So, they called up Mike Hazen and the Arizona Diamondbacks and enquired about Zack Greinke. Before dinner that evening, Seth Beer went from being one of Houston’s top prospects to joining Corbin Martin, J.B. Bukauskas, and Josh Rojas in a trade package for Arizona’s ace pitcher.
Beer was assigned to AA Jackson, where his numbers immediately tailed off - badly. He was assigned to the Arizona Fall League, where he once again found his bat. 2020 came along and derailed what was likely the season Beer would have made his MLB debut.
For 2021, Beer opened the season in AAA Reno, where he proceeded to post a solid (but unspectacular by Reno standards) .909 OPS. Beer’s biggest impediment to making his MLB debut was likely the fact that he bats left-handed. Despite all the injury woes and downright dismal performances coming out of Arizona first base position, Beer remained in Reno until September call-ups were announced. Even with the expanded rosters, it still took a week for Beer to get the call. I still maintain that the Diamondbacks missed a great marketing opportunity by not taking the time to convince Beer to don #30 instead of #28. Finally, on September 10, Beer made his MLB debut as a late-game pinch hitter in a tilt against the Seattle Mariners. It went something like this:
Seth Beer then started the next two games, going 3-for-7 with a double, 2 RBI, and 3 runs scored. The next day, he was again used as a late-game pinch hitter. That resulted in a strikeout.
Beer was then tabbed to start the next game on 14 September against the Dodgers. In the first inning, Trea Turner laced a hotshot grounder towards first. It went like this:
That was the end of Beer’s season and his exciting first looks as a MLB player. A week later, it was announced that Beer would require surgery to repair his dislocated shoulder. When Torey Lovullo addressed the media to announce the development, he cautioned that the recovery time was expected to be months, not weeks, leading some to wonder if Beer would be ready in time for spring training in 2022.
2022 and Beyond
Questions remain as to whether or not Beer has enough glove to play first base at the big league level. The late promotion and end-of-season injury deprived the Diamondbacks of the opportunity to find out in 2021. With Christian Walker and Pavin Smith both vying for playing time at first in 2022, it appears Beer will need to once again start knocking the cover off the ball to earn himself a chance at playing time in 2022. Of course, that could all change with the upcoming CBA negotiations. One of the primary changes most are expecting to emerge from those talks is the permanent adoption of the DH by the National League. If that happens, Beer is almost a shoe-in to be Arizona’s opening day DH and the primary holder of that position. The only real reason for a delay would be if Beer takes longer to recover from his shoulder injury.
Whether the DH comes to the NL in 2022 or not, Beer will be getting a significant number of at-bats for Arizona in 2022. Only his health truly stands in the way. Outside of injury, roster churn and performances will eventually provide an opening for Beer to be placed on the 26-man roster. Given his professional success to date, there is little reason to believe that he will not stick once he is finally added. Beer is not arbitration eligible until 2025. He is not a free agent until 2028. With that in mind, and with the impending addition of the DH to the NL, it seems very likely that Beer will play a key role for the next competitive Diamondbacks team. With the new wave of players now arriving and with Beer’s profile, name, and personality, it is not difficult to envision him becoming a fan favourite, potentially even a franchise face in the next few seasons.