In his second season in college, pitcher Jalen Beeks noticed a new player on the team, a smallish outfielder.

“You could see his talent as a freshman,” Beeks said. “I thought he was going to be all-conference (as a sophomore).

“But nobody saw that coming … who knew he would be the seventh overall (draft pick in 2015)?”

Now Beeks sees Andrew Benintendi manning left field for the Boston Red Sox.

“We watch him all the time (on TV) in the clubhouse,” Beeks said.

Beeks has already been Benintendi’s teammate on four teams – the University of Arkansas (2014), Greenville last year, then Salem and Portland this season. Beeks would like to join him one more time, in the majors.

Beeks, 23, a 14th-round draft pick in 2014, is the only starting pitcher promoted from Salem this season. The left-hander improved his record to 5-3 with the Sea Dogs on Tuesday night with an 8-2 victory against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

With a fastball touching 90-92 mph and three other pitches, Beeks gave up two runs on five hits and four walks over five innings, striking out one. He lowered his ERA a tick to 4.47, second-best among Sea Dogs starters.

At a time when the Red Sox pitching depth is not so deep, Beeks could develop into a prospect.

The promotion to Portland came in early June after Beeks posted a 3.07 ERA. He totaled 11 earned runs in his first three Double-A starts.

“Guys just have better approaches, more experience here,” Beeks said. “Some guys have been in the big leagues. It was just a big learning curve.”

He has had a few hiccups since but mostly has settled in.

“He had that little adjustment time,” Sea Dogs pitching coach Kevin Walker said. “He’s had some struggles but he’s starting to figure it out and starting to learn how to pitch.”

At Arkansas, Beeks went from reliever his freshman year (2.20 ERA) to starter as a sophomore (1.98). But he only made 13 starts because of a sprained ulnar collateral (elbow) ligament.

Bad timing. Beeks was eligible for the 2014 draft.

“I didn’t pitch the month leading into the draft,” said Beeks, who likely dropped down draft boards because of the injury. “I think so, but you never know with the draft.

“But I’m in Double-A now. I’m happy to be here. I play for the Red Sox. Now it’s just about getting to the big leagues.”

The jump to the majors is obviously the biggest leap a pitcher can make. The second- biggest may be to Double-A, a level that separates the pitchers from the throwers.

“This is really a mental leap. You can get guys out … but the experience level is so much better. Being able to repeat pitches (is important),” Beeks said.

“I obviously have a lot to learn. Really it’s just experience and learning, and battling adversity.”

Beeks does battle. Despite the bumps he’s had in Double-A, every start except one has gone at least five innings.

“The big thing for me is his poise and composure on the mound,” Walker said. “He doesn’t let any situation get too big. He’s always able to calm down and make that one pitch when he needs to.”

Beeks looked in big trouble early Tuesday, starting with a leadoff walk and then a line drive single. After a double play, Beeks gave up back-to-back RBI doubles.

Beeks gave up only two more hits, but also ran up his pitch count with three more walks.

“I still have to work on fastball control,” Beeks said. “All of my pitches are still developing. The slider sometimes gets kind of loopy instead of hard and down. The curveball is still a work in progress. So is the change-up.

“I have good days and bad days.”

In 561/3 Double-A innings, Beeks has 45 strikeouts and 24 walks.

He’s expected to return to Portland at the start of 2017. He will be facing a key season, a time for Beeks to put his experience to work for him. Maybe then he can realistically look forward to a reunion with his Arkansas teammate, in Boston.