Minors | General | 10/9/2019

Beer’s Arizona launching pad

Stephanie Wakefield        
Photo: Seth Beer (Stephanie Wakefield)

See also: Lewis making his mark in AFL

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Many say today’s high school athletes should specialize in one sport. But for one Arizona Fall League standout, playing multiple sports is exactly what propelled him into professional baseball.

In 2009, as a 12-year old, Arizona Diamondbacks top prospect Seth Beer, set the national record for the 50 and 100-meter backstroke in swimming. This marked Beer an Olympic hopeful for the 2012 Olympics in London.

“It's something that taught me toughness.” Beer said. “On the mental and physical side, (it taught me) how to go about (my) business when it comes to preparation and training, which I feel like kind of carried on to my baseball career.”

Beer was torn about leaving swimming at such a high point in his career, but realized it had a shorter lifespan than other professional sports could provide. But Beer was a multi-sport athlete competing in football and baseball as well.

Sometimes though, a tough decision is made easier when a prominent figure in your life gives confident valuable advice.

For Beer that guidance came from former MLB All-Star pitcher, Paul Byrd.

The 14-year pro coached Beer in Georgia, along with his son Grayson Byrd, during this adolescent crossroad. It was then, that Byrd planted the seed Beer could make it in baseball. Ironically Grayson and Beer would end up playing together again at Clemson.

“(Byrd) said to me, ‘Seth, you know, you have a pretty special swing. I really think you could play professionally and at a high level in the future,’” Beer said. “It was the first time I heard that, and I truly believed him.”

It was that moment Beer decided baseball was his calling.

“That's kind of when I was like, I think I'm going to start competing more in the sport of baseball and start challenging myself, playing on bigger teams and in bigger tournaments and really chase this dream.”

Insert Perfect Game. PG became a launching pad for Beer into the national rankings and helped send his career into overdrive. Beer played in 26 PG events to be exact.

“I think that it’s a huge deal when it comes to being able to understand if you're a big fish in a little pond,” Beer said. “(These tournaments) tell you how much bigger the world is, and how much better the players are around these areas. It drove me to want to train harder and become a better well-rounded ballplayer.

The work ethic developed in swimming transitioned into a baseball obsession, and it would eventually lead him to a three-time All-American career at Clemson then into the major leagues.

Beer recalled swimming and what it meant to him and how it helped shape him into the player with his work ethic today.

Drafted 28th overall by the Houston Astros in 2018, Beer quickly rose through the Astros ranks.

Beer showed his strength at the plate in Advanced A where he hit .328, with nine homers and 34 RBIs in just 35 games played in Fayetteville this season. Quickly the ‘Stros moved Beer up to Double A Corpus Christi, where he continued to shine with his bat, posting a .299 average with 16 dingers and 52 RBIs.

Despite Beer’s stellar 2019 minor league season, the Astros shipped him to the Diamondbacks with three other players via the Zack Greinke trade deadline blockbuster.

Being a top prospect Beer knew there was a possibility that he could be dealt. Beer recalled a conversation with his girlfriend, where she asked about the possibility of him being traded in the waning minutes of the deadline.

“I said, ‘I don't think so, there's only four minutes left from the deadline,’” Beer said. “And sure enough, about a minute or two later, I get a call…”

Currently, Beer is transitioning from outfielder to first base for the Diamondbacks. This is his first full season at the position.

Despite some growing pains, Beer has shown above average positional awareness and plate consistency. And he also has the advantage of working with the Dbacks field and hitting coordinator, Joe Mather, daily during the Fall League.

“Right now, we're focusing more on first base and getting him more reps and teaching kind of the nuances of the game,” Mather said. “It's pretty impressive that he's where he is. Another good thing about him is he wants to get out there and do it as much as possible.”

It’s clear from Mather’s words – that multi-sport lessons like the ones Beer learned launching from the swim platform towards the Olympics are showing through – as he continues his positional adjustments in the Arizona Fall League.

“I'll do whatever it takes to help my organization to get them back into the chase to play in October,” Beer said. “And I can speak on behalf of all the guys that were part of this Greinke trade. (We’re) here to do whatever it takes to help, and one day bring a ring back to Arizona.”

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