Seattle – Clayton Beater can’t escape this.
Yankees fans know his name not because of who he is, but because of the person he is not.
Beater, the pitching prospect who was traded for Joey Gallo at last year’s trade deadline, wants to become even more.
“I know every time my name is mentioned, Joey Gallo’s too,” Beater said at the All-Star Futures Game this weekend. “It’s cool, but at the same time, I want people to know that Who am I.”
Beater is a 24-year-old righty who is making a strong claim to be a major league starting pitcher.
The Texas native was used primarily in short bursts with the Dodgers, never pitching more than four innings in a game in a year and a half with the organization.
The Dodgers were wary about his injury history – Beater required a few surgeries, including a Tommy John one at Texas Tech – and the Yankees loosened the reins.
“They are very active [me as a] Starter now,’ said Beater. “At least that’s what I’ve been told.”
After the trade, Beater began expanding to Double-A Somerset, where he impressed last year and advanced this year.
The former second-round pick posted a 2.08 ERA in 12 starts with Somerset this season, earning both a trip to the Futures Game and a promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Beater has been fine in two starts at the high level and recorded two outs in relief on Saturday in the Futures game.
Beater’s fastball reached 96 mph, and a sharp slider struck out Brewers prospect Jackson Chorio.
These are his two primary offerings, but he is also trying to create an evolutionary change.
The Yankees’ starting depth was tested during the first half with 10 different pitchers starting a game.
Pitchers who were projected as Triple-A depth, including Johnny Brito and Randy Vasquez, have been called upon to help.
Beater, now a move away from The Bronx, has positioned himself to be a tipping candidate for the spot start.
In some organizations, young starters can break in without much pressure.
Beater, who cited Matt Kruk and Greg Weissert as his friends in Scranton, knows there isn’t much time to learn if he gets promoted.
“It’s probably different with the Yankees because they’re always competing. You have to step up and perform,” Beitar said. “But it’s exciting to see everyone step up, and it’s encouraging, too.”
It’s possible that Beater becomes a late-season bullpen option, although that seems less likely this year due to the club’s reliever depth and the desire to see if Beater can stick around as a starter.
The early returns — as evidenced by Beater joining top prospect Spencer Jones for the festivities at T-Mobile Park — have been promising, which could help get Gallo a little more in the rearview mirror.
“From the beginning the whole season was just [about] Going deep and staying healthy, see how I responded,” Bitter said. “It’s been great so far.”