PHOENIX -- The Mark Melancon trade proved to be a win-win for the Giants and the Braves, with one team getting nearly $20 million in salary relief and the other picking up a closer for a postseason run. But it was also a big win for one of the two pitchers the Giants got back in the deal.
Right-hander Tristan Beck grew up in Southern California and attended Stanford, where his brother currently is on the baseball team. The trade brought him much closer to home, allowed family members and college friends to watch him in San Jose, and put him in the California League, which has stops close to his hometown of Corona.
"It was kind of overwhelming," Beck said Tuesday after an Arizona Fall League game. "There was a lot going on, but when it all settled, I was really happy to be coming back to the West Coast."
Beck already is familiar with Oracle Park, having gone to plenty of games while a student at Stanford. And he put that education to use while going over his background.
"I grew up an Angels fan," he said, laughing. "I don't like the Dodgers one bit."
If all goes according to plan, the 23-year-old will soon get to face them. Beck has a 3.29 ERA through four starts in the Fall League, where he's teammates with Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos. After the trade, Beck posted a 2.27 ERA in six starts for San Jose, striking out more than a batter per inning and allowing just one homer.
"When I came over they made the suggestion that I start using my four-seam up in the zone a little bit more and it really paid dividends," Beck said. "It felt a little bit more natural for me. Sometimes I struggle to keep the ball down at the knees, so letting the four-seam fly at the letters just led to a lot of success and let the curveball play off of that."
San Francisco Giants
The curveball, a big 12-6 bender, is his out pitch and pairs well with a low 90s fastball. Beck is getting more comfortable with a two-seamer and has started throwing a slider in the Fall League. The raw stuff is not overwhelming, but scouts who watched Beck on Tuesday noted that he's advanced in his approach and simply knows how to pitch.
That's always been the case for a right-hander who was drafted in the fourth round in 2018. Beck was so dominant at Corona High that he was projected as a first-rounder, but he advised teams that his commitment to Stanford was strong and he would not be signing.
"I never thought I was going to be in that position, to be honest, but at the end of the day the draw to go to Stanford was just too great," said Beck, who has a mother and sister who are alums of the school. "I don't regret it one bit. I went to Stanford and I'm really happy with the time I spent there and what I got to do with teammates there.
"It was a good enough experience to propel me here. I'm in a good situation here."
Beck was dealt to an organization without much starting depth at the upper levels of the minors, and he should be in position to start next season in Double-A. After making it back to the West Coast because of a deal that went through minutes before the deadline, Beck could find himself in Richmond, Virginia next April.
But that's no problem.
"You know what," he said, smiling. "It's Sacramento after that."