Beck Way received just one collegiate offer out of Cumberland Valley High School in Pennsylvania. The right-handed pitcher joined Division II Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina as a freshman in 2017-18.
Over the last three years, Way has developed his skills on the mound while dedicating significant time in the weight room to go from being 6-foot-1, 160 pounds when he graduated high school to 6-4, 195 pounds.
Way’s dedication to improving in all facets of the game has paid off. He is one of the top junior college prospects in this year’s MLB draft class after spending the spring season at Northwest Florida State College. Professional scouts consider Way as a likely top-three-round prospect in this year’s draft.
Way, who’s committed to Louisiana State University, is grateful to be considered a draft prospect after starting his collegiate career at the Division II level, he said.
“From a young age, it was always put in my head that I was going to be a major league starter,” Way said. “Ever since I started pitching, I always had that mindset that I was going to be a major league pitcher and that this is what I needed to improve on. To now be draft-eligible and be in the situation I am now, I just credit it to hard work.”
In an abbreviated spring season at Northwest Florida State College, Way made six of his seven appearances as a starter and posted a 0.67 ERA with 58 strikeouts and nine walks allowed in 40 innings.
His success this spring was encouraging, especially after he showed flashes of his potential last summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League.
Way throws a three-pitch mix from a three-quarters arm slot. His best offering is the low-to-mid-90s fastball that he locates well in all four quadrants of the strike zone.
He also throws a slider, changeup and cutter with his slider serving as an outpitch.
“My fastball is my biggest strength right now,” Way said. “Also, my biggest strength has been working out in the weight room since high school. I have a lot more power and that comes from working out more, lifting more, and just developing through that.”
Way doesn’t use his changeup a lot but it’s an offering that shows potential. He started to throw it regularly last summer in the Cape Cod League, which allowed him to gain confidence in the offering, he said.
With his season ending early due to the coronavirus pandemic, Way has spent the off time incorporating a cutter into his repertoire.
“I throw a changeup and it’s a newer pitch but sometimes it’s better than my slider,” Way said. “Since I have some relaxing time, I have started playing with a cutter, and I think that will help against lefties in the pros for sure. I have a feel for it but now it’s just a consistency thing. I think it would be a good follow-up pitch after my changeup and would play well against lefties.”
If the draft doesn’t work out like Way hopes, he will attend LSU in the fall. He committed to the Tigers on Nov. 8 due to his passion for the program and its track record of developing talent for the pro ranks.
“I’ve dreamed about going to LSU for a very long time,” Beck said. “When they reached out to me in the fall, it was a no brainer. I knew that it was just a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in front of those fans and in one of the best stadiums in college baseball and to be coached by that staff would be a huge opportunity for me.”
Read more stories on top 2020 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.