The White Sox felt like they stole Chris Beck in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft, and that theft started to pay off last summer.
Following a stellar sophomore season at Georgia Southern and an even better showing in the Cap Cod League in the summer of 2011, Beck rocketed up mock drafts and was projected as a top-10 pick in some circles. But he lost velocity on his fastball and was less effective in his junior season of 2012 and slipped into the second round, where the White Sox drafted him with the 76th overall pick.
What the White Sox saw was a player who had put on too much upper-body strength, which made his delivery stiff and thus caused the velocity drop. But his talent was still there, and was on display in 2013.
Beck started 26 games between Single-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, posting a 3.07 ERA in 146 2/3 innings. He dropped weight and his delivery became more fluid, and the results followed.
"He went home, and credit to him he worked his rear end off and got back into baseball shape and took off," White Sox director of player development Nick Capra said.
Baseball America ranked Beck as the White Sox ninth-best prospect for 2014, while MLB.com ranks him No. 6 and Baseball Prospectus has him fourth. While he's not a strikeout machine, he generates plenty of ground balls and projects as a durable, reliable major league starter.
Beck will begin 2014 at Double-A Birmingham.