We knew going into 2017 that the 2018 season was going to be one of transition for Stanford, primarily because we knew longtime head coach Mark Marquess planned on retiring at the end of the season. And with former Cal head coach (and Stanford shortstop) Dave Esquer taking over, that transition is underway.
It also felt like it would be a transition season because of the loss of some key veterans who had been big pieces of Marquess’s last few Cardinal teams. That’s precisely what happened with guys like top power bat Quinn Brodey, relief ace Colton Hock, and dependable starting pitching Chris Castellanos, but in something of a surprise, it wasn’t the way it played out with right-handed pitcher Tristan Beck.
Beck was outstanding as a freshman for the Cardinal, going 6-5 with a 2.48 ERA. In 83.1 innings over 14 starts, he struck out 76, walked 26, and allowed just a .205 opponent batting average. On a team that had to mix and match a little bit in the starting rotation and that struggled offensively to the tune of a .252 team batting average, his steadiness on the weekend was just what the team needed.
Understandably, heading into his sophomore season, there was quite a bit of hype. At about this time last year, we focused a post in the countdown on he and Hock as a dynamic duo for Stanford, and D1Baseball.com ranked Beck tenth on their list of top 100 college prospects heading into the 2017 draft. As a draft-eligible sophomore, the expectation was that Beck would provide Stanford with one more outstanding campaign, he would get drafted, and then he would be off to pro baseball.
But his 2017 season never got going, as he missed all of it due to injury, making Stanford’s run to host a regional in Marquess’s final season all that much more impressive.
Going into the draft, even with his injury, there was still some thought that some team might have seen enough in Beck already to take a flier on him and throw enough money his way to push him into signing. That team was the New York Yankees in the 29th round, but the signing deadline passed without the two sides coming to terms.
So now Beck is back on The Farm, and while seeing a new face as the head coach at Stanford will take some getting used to and there will likely be 100% fewer briefcases in the dugout than there were before, the return of a potential staff ace in Beck means that maybe it won’t be quite as much of a transition year for the Cardinal.