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Community prospect profile: No. 11, Clayton Beeter & Landon Knack

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As ranked by True Blue LA readers

Dodgers minor league pitcher Clayton Beeter pitches for High-A Great Lakes in 2021.
Photo: from MILBtv

[Editor’s note: A total of 12 prospects received votes in our True Blue LA community ranking, and we will reveal the list in reverse order for the next few weeks. There was a tie at No. 11, with pitchers Clayton Beeter and Landon Knack receiving one vote each.]

Coming from the Dodgerscollege pitching draft bonanza in 2020, Clayton Beeter and Landon Knack have been on similar trajectories toward the big leagues, with both wrapping 2021 with Double-A Tulsa. I covered Knack back in the Arizona Fall League preview, but I would likely slot Knack a little beyond Beeter in the pitching hierarchy. Knack’s history of arm injuries in college, maxed-out frame, and primarily two-pitch mix makes him a likely reliever or four-inning starter at the big league level, but one that will fill the zone with plus velocity. Knack can reach the upper 90s with his fastball that features decent ride, and his slider can be a sharp downer breaking ball in the mid 80s. Knack’s main secondary offering has become his changeup, but I have yet to see this pitch personally to give an evaluation on it.

Knack held his own in a tour of the Arizona Fall League, suggesting he could receive a bump to Triple-A to start 2022, depending on what additions Los Angeles makes to the organization after the lockout. I would expect the Dodgers to continue developing him in the rotation to keep him stretched out and accruing developmental innings, but he could see big league action by the end of 2022 should a need arise in either the bullpen or the back of the rotation. Knack was a senior sign and is older than other Dodger arms on a similar development path, so I don’t see much more upside, but an eventual role as a late-inning reliever or set-up arm seems likely. Think Chris Hatcher with better hit luck.

Though I did not release draft rankings in 2020, I was pretty high on Clayton Beeter coming out of Texas Tech, and he’s by and large pitched to expectations with Los Angeles. Similar to Knack, Beeter had a checkered health history in college, but a progression from relieving to starting seemed to show an arm still teeming with potential. The Dodgers have handled him carefully in the early part of his career, and he still needs more live innings to further his development despite already turning 23.

Beeter displays solid athleticism on the mound with a physical 6’2, 220-lb. frame. His delivery is repeatable, though it does feature a slight stab and hesitation in the back that can be both deceptive to hitters and antagonistic to his command. His arm strength is plus, though he might settle into more mid than upper 90s with a larger workload. His fastball has serious riding life and explodes on hitters in the upper part of the zone. Beeter flashed two plus breaking balls in college, with the tight slider likely being his best, but the curve showed knuckle-curve shape and depth and generated swing and misses as a chase offering. As a pro, Beeter’s change-up has played up, and the delivery stab plays into the pitch’s deception.

Beeter has not been as pitch stingy as Knack, and his bat-missing profile has not proven as efficient for getting deeper into games, but Beeter is still a relatively “young” arm in terms of competitive (college and pro) innings. I like his potential for staying in the rotation more than I do Knack’s, but I do expect Beeter to hang back in Double-A to continue refining his approach. He has the upside as a high-strikeout, mid-rotation starter, but one that pitches 140-160 innings a year and could need several planned pauses early in his career. There’s obvious arm talent for even more upside, but he’ll need to stay healthy over these next few years to harness it.