— Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) June 6, 2014
Vanderbilt University righthander Tyler Beede, an Auburn native and former Lawrence Academy star, became the first Massachusetts native to be selected twice in the first round of the MLB Draft tonight, when he was taken 14th overall by the San Francisco Giants.
Beede, who was the recipient of ESPN Boston's inaugural "Mr. Baseball" award back in 2011, was selected 21st overall by the Toronto Blue Jays. He is the highest-draft Auburn resident since former Auburn High star Mike Paradis was taken 13th overall by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999, his junior season at Clemson.
This also marks the first time two Massachusetts natives have been taken back to back in the first round of the MLB Draft. One pick after Beede, Middleborough native Sean Newcomb of the University of Hartford was taken by the Los Angeles Angels.
"It feels amazing, obviously. It's pretty hard to put into words right now," said Beede tonight from the lobby of his dorm on the Vanderbilt campus, where he watched the draft live with 100 friends and family members. "It's a pretty special moment again. All my teammates jumped around me like it was a dogpile. It was pretty loud."
Referring to his roommate at Vandy, Sudbury native Adam Ravenelle, Beede continued, "I hugged my teammates, I hugged my family, I hugged Ravenelle -- hopefully, he's there soon too."
Heading into the spring, Beede was being talked about as potentially a top-five draft pick, after a terrific 2013 season in which he set the school single-season record for wins (14) and earned Second Team All-American honors. But after some early success in 2014, he encountered some struggles, including an April 18 loss to Arkansas in which he allowed a career-high 10 hits. He has caught second wind in the last few weeks, however, and was named MVP of the NCAA Tournament's Nashville Regional on Sunday.
"I just started going after hitters more," Beede said of his recent success. "Ups and downs are a part of baseball."
Earlier this week, an American League scout told ESPNBoston.com that from a mental aspect, Beede is "leaps and bounds ahead of where he was at this time three years ago."
"I don't know if when he was 17-18 years old, before the draft happened, if he knew what failure was," the scout said. "He's been so talented for so long against the competition he's been facing, he's been very successful at a high level, he'd stumble here or there but never a prolonged slump. To see him struggle down the stretch after a brilliant year last year, it opened a wound, and you want to wait and see how it heals. He's done a tremendous job handling difficulties."
Beede famously turned down an offer of $2.3 million from the Blue Jays at the signing deadline back in 2011. As the only first-rounder not to sign that year, he took a considerable amount of backlash, both locally and nationally. The experience didn't create a chip on his shoulder, Beede says.
And obviously, it's worked out just fine.
"It was a situation where I was comfortable with the opportunity to come here," Beede said. "I'm so thankful that coach [Tim] Corbin gave me this opportunity. Ever since I set foot on campus, my goals have been to be happy, be myself and become a better baseball player. This has been a good feeling, and it's paid off."