Drew Beam motivated to succeed for family, team

Drew Beam is one of the best pitchers in college baseball. The right-handed pitcher figures to lead the Tennessee pitching staff this spring and is drawing first-round interest in anticipation of the 2024 MLB draft.

Beam loves the competitive nature of baseball and strives to reach his full potential. He is destined for a professional career after his time at Tennessee. But it isn’t the personal attention or success that motivates him to succeed in baseball and life. Instead, it’s his family and, more specifically, his sister that drives him each day.

Last season, during his sophomore campaign, Beam used a purple glove to honor his younger sister, Carlee, and to bring awareness to Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Carlee was diagnosed with SMA at an early age and is wheelchair-bound. She has impacted Beam’s perspective on life, leading him to seek ways to share her story and increase attention for SMA.

“The motivation she gives me is huge,” Beam said. “I see the struggles and problems she works through every day. I’m given the ability to play baseball at the highest level here. Why not give it my all like she does just in normal life, facing the challenges she does? My family also motivates me. They’ve been there for me since I was little. Having that motivation and family behind me pushes me to play the game I love.”

Beam has been a reliable starter in his first two years at Tennessee. He recorded a 2.72 ERA with 62 strikeouts and 21 walks allowed in 76 innings as a freshman in 2022. He then posted a 3.63 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 23 walks allowed in 84 1/3 innings last year.

As he prepares for his junior campaign, Beam will serve as Tennessee’s ace this spring. Beam is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a four-seam fastball, two-seamer, curveball, cutter and changeup from a high three-quarters arm slot, long arm action and low-effort delivery.

He primarily relies on a four-seam fastball and curveball. His mid-90s fastball tops out at 98 mph, and he locates it well in all parts of the strike zone. His quality curveball features depth and is an effective pitch that generates plenty of swings and misses.

Beam has the size, pitch mix and potential to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in pro ball. He credits his athleticism for his development and success so far in his career.

“I like to view myself as an athlete,” Beam said. “I’ve been coined the nickname QB1 around here. It’s something (coach Tony Vitello) called me since I came in because I was a quarterback in high school. A big skill of mine is being an athlete, making plays, and using my God-given talent and work ethic to get through things on the mound.”

Beam’s changeup flashes above-average potential and generates swings and misses. He’s confident in the pitch but hasn’t relied on it a lot in his first two years. This season, Beam hopes to incorporate his changeup more into his arsenal.

Beam also has worked on a cutter and two-seamer. Highly respected pitching coach Frank Anderson approached Beam about throwing a cutter during the fall last year to create separation from his fastball and curveball as it’s more of a firm pitch with less movement.

This season, Beam wants to add a two-seamer into his arsenal to add variation from his four-seam fastball.

Beam hopes having a five-pitch mix always allows him to have a full arsenal that he can lean on if one pitch isn’t working like he expects in a given start. He believes his pitch mix also will allow him to be more consistent and keep hitters off-balance.

“I’d love to get rid of those blowup games,” Beam said. “I had one my freshman year and had a couple last year. Personally, they are unacceptable. I’m just working on getting rid of those and being as consistent as possible for this team. I hope my team knows that every time I go out there, they have a chance to compete and win.”

In coach Tony Vitello’s first six years at Tennessee, the program has competed at a high level and produced a plethora of talent for the pro ranks. This season, expectations remain high for the Volunteers.

The Volunteers are coming off a 44-22 season that consisted of them advancing to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, for the second time in the last three years. After going 1-2 in the CWS last year, the Volunteers hope to return and capture the program’s first-ever national title this spring.

“We made it to Omaha, but that shouldn’t be enough, honestly,” Beam said. “It leaves a sour taste in your mouth that you got there, went home early and watched the last two teams play on TV at home. As much of an accomplishment it is to get there, the goal is obviously to win it all. The goal is nothing short of winning it this year.”

Video of Drew Beam.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

Dan Zielinski III
Dan Zielinski IIIhttp://BaseballProspectJournal.com
Dan Zielinski III is the creator of the Baseball Prospect Journal and has covered the MLB draft since 2015. His draft work originally appeared on The3rdManIn.com, a sports website he started in December 2011. He also covered the Milwaukee Brewers as a member of the credentialed media for four years. Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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  1. A fun guy to cheer for. Its good to be reminded that these kids have a life outside of baseball and in the case of Drew he has a bigger motivation in his family. Would love to see him have confidence in a 2 seam. I relate to him with the blowup outings as I look to get rid of the blowup holes in my golf game😂


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