Jordan Beck has been on professional scouts’ radars dating back to his prep career at Hazel Green High in Alabama.
Scouts considered Beck one of the top prep players in Alabama throughout his senior year in 2019. He received plenty of interest leading up to the 2019 MLB draft and heard his name called in the 14th round by the Boston Red Sox.
Despite having the chance to turn pro, Beck was set on honoring his commitment to the University of Tennessee. Beck also dreamed of playing in the Southeastern Conference and felt Tennessee was the best route for developing his skills to play in the major leagues one day.
The decision to attend Tennessee has paid off for Beck. The outfielder has developed into an impact player at the college level and enters his junior season this spring as one of the top prospects in the 2022 draft class. Scouts project Beck as a potential first-round pick in this year’s draft.
“Knowing what to expect with scouts eases the pressure off of you,” Beck said. “It is the same thing. It all comes down to how you play. I am in a good spot with good people and have a lot of resources available.”
Beck made an impact immediately as a freshman at Tennessee in 2020. In the pandemic-shortened season, Beck hit .275 with five doubles, one home run and nine RBIs in 40 at-bats in 16 games.
Last season, Beck’s impressive skillset was on full display when he hit .271 with 16 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs and 64 RBIs in 258 at-bats in 67 games. He also stole eight bases in nine attempts.
Last year’s success has caused him to surge up draft boards in anticipation of this year’s draft. Beck is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound outfielder who is a notable athlete with five-tool potential. Scouts rave about Beck’s offensive skill set. He hits for above-average power to all fields due to his strength and bat speed.
Defensively, Beck profiles as an above-average right fielder due to his solid speed and above-average arm strength.
“Everyone would tell you my biggest strength is my power, but honestly, I just think it’s my mindset,” Beck said. “I approach everything the same way. I’m a pretty calm, cool and collected dude. I think never getting too high or too low has helped me get to this point, and I think it’s going to help me continue to be successful.”
Beck hopes to improve his plate discipline throughout his junior season. In his first two years between Tennessee and the Cape Cod League last summer, Beck has stuck out 71 times while drawing 32 walks.
In the offseason, Beck tweaked his mechanics at the plate. He has implemented a leg kick and wants to keep his barrel flatter through the zone, he said.
“I think lowering the strikeouts comes with experience and changing my approach a little bit and not selling out for power,” Beck said. “You will see a completely different number than last year, to be honest. All that ties in with being more comfortable, knowing what the SEC looks like and other pitchers look like. I think we are in store for a good year.”
Last year, Tennessee won an NCAA regional and qualified for the College World Series for the first time since 2005. Coach Tony Vitello has done an outstanding job turning around the Tennessee program in his first four years, developing the Volunteers into one of the top teams in college baseball.
This season, expectations are high for the Volunteers. Beck believes they have the pieces in place to capture the program’s first-ever national championship. The Volunteers finished as the College World Series runner-up in 1951.
“This year, we have the most talented team in baseball, I think,” Beck said. “We have a good mix of guys with some new guys, young guys, and some old. The only way it works is if we mesh. That is the biggest thing that matters. Having a team that meshes is how teams win, get to Omaha and finish.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for seven years. He has interviewed 356 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.