The Pittsburgh Pirates selected former first-round pick and top prospect Seth Beer with one of their minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft
The Pittsburgh Pirates took first baseman Seth Beer in the minor league phase of this year’s Rule 5 Draft. Beer is an interesting pick. A former first round pick and top prospect, Beer was one of the key pieces the Houston Astros sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks at the 2019 trade deadline for future Hall of Fame pitcher Zack Greinke. For a position the Pirates have little depth at, both in the minor leagues and major leagues, Beer could be a solid low-cost pick-up.
Beer spent most of the 2023 season at Double-A where he batted .290/.387/.482. Known for his power, Beer went yard 13 times in 389 plate appearances with an isolated slugging percentage of .192. The lefty first baseman had a 9.5% walk rate and 22.6% strikeout rate. The former is slightly below average and the latter is slightly better than league average. Overall, he had a .390 wOBA, and league adjusted 129 wRC+. Beer ended the 2023 season at Triple-A, but struggled to a wRC+ of just 36, albeit in only 79 plate appearances.
Beer was given brief MLB opportunities by the D-Backs in 2021 and 2022, combining for just 136 plate appearances. He didn’t perform very well, batting a mere .206/.294/.292 with a 66 wRC+. He struck out in a quarter of his plate appearances with a mediocre 6.6% walk rate. But for a guy who was once projected to hit for plus power, he only collected six extra base hits with an isolated slugging percentage of just .083.
Beer hasn’t done horribly in his Triple-A career, however. In 916 plate appearances, all of which were spent at the D-Backs’ Triple-A affiliate, Beer is a .260/.370/.460 batter. He has gone yard 32 times with 55 doubles, and a solid 9.7% walk rate. He has struck out in 18.2% of his plate appearances as well.
The first baseman was still considered a top 15 prospect in the D-Backs’ organization as late as 2022. But he’s failed to capitalize on his brief Major League stints. That’s not to say the Pirates should give Beer a semi-regular role and platoon with Connor Joe next season, but for a guy who was once considered a very good hitting prospect not all that long ago, taking him in the minor league phase of the draft and stashing him at Triple-A isn’t the worst idea.
Taking Seth Beer is a nice zero risk choice by the Pirates at a position where there's virtually no MLB-ready depth in the organization past Malcom Nuñez throughout the minor leagues. Beer does have the positives of being a former top prospect and first-round pick. While I wouldn’t hold my breath hoping he reaches that potential, he’s one of the more interesting guys selected in the minor league phase.