A more comfortable & confident Jay Beshears is finding early success in 2024

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Credit: Lake Elsinore Storm

Every year, a prospect goes from relative unknown to a team’s top 30 prospect.

It happens across the league. A month and a half into the 2024 season, it looks like the Padres have yet another Duke Blue Devil alumni breaking out in their farm system. 

Last season, Graham Pauley flew up the ranks of the Friars farm system, and this season, it looks like 2023 6th-round draft pick Jay Beshears could follow in his former Blue Devils teammates’ footsteps. 

“The transition from college to pro took a bit of getting used to. But I’ve been gaining confidence, trusting myself, and I feel really confident right now,” recently promoted Padres prospect Jay Beshears told EVT.


2023 to 2024:

The 6-foot-4 Beshears got a brief taste of professional pitching last season after being selected in the sixth round of the 2023 draft. 

In 29 games in 2023,  Beshears struggled, as many first-year players do, posting a 28.9% K%, .285 wOBA, and 65 wRC+. 

But jump forward to 2024, and Beshears has settled in just fine—well, maybe just a bit better than fine. In 28 games this season in Lake Elsinore, he cleaned up against California League pitching, posting a 168 wRC+, .465 wOBA, .454 Slug%, and a 23.3% BB%. In fact, Beshears’s numbers were so eye-popping that the Padres promoted him to Fort Wayne on May 15. 

Beshears’ success in 2024 can be credited to a multitude of things, but a major factor he attributes to his hot start to 24’ is finding a comfortable and successful routine. 

“You gotta dive into your routine and process every day. You have six games every week here, so you have to get lost in your routine so that you don’t mix anything up or fall behind,’ Beshears explained. 

“For me, there’s always a component of studying the pitcher you’ll be facing beforehand, seeing what he’s got,  building an approach, rolling out, stretching, and getting my work in at the cages and the defensive side so that I’m always ready to go come game time.”


 Approach & Plate Discipline

Jay Beshears is one of a handful of Padres prospects in their farm system who possess a keen eye at the plate. During his days at Duke, he posted a BB% north of 15%. Now, being more settled in and a year older, Beshears’s patience has once again shown, as he boasts a 23.3% BB% in Lake Elsinore and 13.5% BB% in Fort Wayne. 

Beshears, in his short time in pro ball, has been a quality decision-maker at the plate. He does not often chase or offer at pitches outside the zone, as he owns a 26.4% O-swing% (outside of the zone swing), 18% Chase Swing%, and 23.8% Chase%. 

Credit: LE Storm

Perhaps equally as impressive is how he has been able to limit his swing and misses, as he checks in with a 9.8% SwSrt%(swinging Strike) and 26.8% whiff rate.  

“I feel like I’ve always been one to see more pitches during at-bats, and I’ve been doing that here. I’ve stayed selective and work to get my pitches early in counts, but if it’s not there I have no problem leaving it knowing that I’ll probably get another pitch later in the plate appearance,” Beshears noted.

“Or if it falls deep into a count, I know I can fight and protect. I’m never worried about being in or hitting deep counts.” 

Pairing with, and closely correlated to, Beshears’ selectiveness and discipline skills, he’s also seen a large uptick in his offensive numbers across the board. A 168 wRC+ and .454 Slug% in Lake Elsinore was impressive, but he continues to scald the ball in Fort Wayne, seeming to having little difficulty dealing with more experienced arms. 

Since his promotion to High Single-A, he’s posted a 1.111 OPS, 210 wRC+, .222 ISO (Isolated Power), with a .506 wOBA and .389 batting average in 22 plate appearances. While he has yet to connect for a home run in Fort Wayne, he has continued to show +raw & in-game power to the pull side. 

The Naples, Florida native hasn’t made any major mechanical swing changes. Hit batted ball data is relatively the same; however, in High Single-A, he did use the middle of the field more, jumping his Center hit from 19.2% in 23’ to 31.9% in 2024. A solid 12.7% increase.

However, Beshers’s success at the plate has mostly stemmed from simply feeling more confident and comfortable in the box. 

“I’ve learned to trust myself and my swing more,” Beshears stated. 

I’ve worked on my path and my swing; I’m always critiquing little things here and there. But really, it’s just hitting the ball where it’s pitched and trusting that my body and my swing are gonna get to the ball. I’m not trying force the ball to the pull side or something, I’m just trusting my hands and going with the pitch.” 


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Defense & In The Field

As mentioned, Jay Beshers stands 6-foot-4 inches tall. Not the typical height or build for a second baseman; the spot he manned for a majority of his career at Duke.

As such, he has been asked to move positions, seeing time regularly at third base while also getting some brief time at shortstop. Beshers has taken the transition to the left side of the infield in stride and also views his ability to be versatile as a strength. 

“Versatility is honestly, I think,  one of the most important things you can have on the defensive side.” Beshers said, “I want to be able to play as many spots as I can because it makes the manager’s job easier, easier for me to get in the lineup, and help my teammates.”


Moving Forward in 2024 

With the way Beshers has performed for the first month and a half of the season, there isn’t much he should be changing or tinkering with, considering what he is doing at the plate has already earned him one promotion this season. 

But like most young players, he’s hungry to continue developing and expanding his game. 

“Obviously, I want to keep working and improving on the defensive side. Keep working my feet and moving around, taking reps at every spot.” Beshers said.

“On the offensive side, I just want to stay attacking so that when pitchers do make mistakes and throw the ball over the middle, I still want to be aggressive and ready to go. Not be too selective, and trust my eye to know when a pitch is away and when it’s in the zone.”

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