Tampa Bay Rays Tim Beckham – 2013 – Breakthrough or Bust ?
By most accounts Beckham’s development has been slow
Beckham was the number one pick in the 2008 draft, ahead of a list of players that have made an impact in the major leagues. That list includes, Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer, Brett Lawrie, and Pedro Alvarez .
Unfortunately for Beckham, being at the top of the 2008 draft implies that he should’ve been to the major leagues by now, and he’s never hit over .275 in his professional career.
For Beckham progress has been slow
In rookie ball, Beckham hit .243 with a .297 on base percentage. With Bowling Green in the South Atlantic League in 2009, he made 43 errors and struck out 119 times. Playing for AA Montgomery in 2011, Beckham posted a .277 average with a .730 OPS and his career seemed finally headed in the right direction.
Beckham hit .256 with six homers and 28 RBIs at Triple-A Durham, albeit, while sitting out 50 games for a drug test violation.
Beckham tested positive for marijuana and admitted exercising poor judgment. “I regret that my poor judgment resulted in me letting my teammates and the Tampa Bay Rays organization down,” Beckham said.
Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “Tim possesses great potential, and he must rededicate himself in order to become the person and player we know he can be.”
Maybe shortstop isn’t his position
Beckham was drafted as a shortstop but has added playing second base to his resume playing 25 games there for Durham in 2012. Beckham is not the first Rays prospect to be drafted as the shortstop of the future.
Playing second base might be Beckham’s ticket to the major leagues for 2013. The Rays covet versatile players. The more gloves a player can carry to the park the more valuable you become to Tampa Bay.
Ben Zobrist will likely start the season as a shortstop for Tampa Bay in 2013, but has played second base, first base, right field, center field, and third-base in his career as an example.
Slow and steady wins the race?
The Rays are remarkably patient with their prospects. Beckham is 22 years old, remember he was drafted out of high school, not college. Beckham will likely get an opportunity at the major-league level in 2013, whether that’s out of spring training or after playing a few more games at AAA Durham.
Beckham was drafted as a five tool player out of high school, loaded with potential and with the proverbial can’t miss tag.
To his credit, Beckham works hard, something that is a must in the Rays organization. The Rays rewarded that work ethic, that potential, by adding him to the 40 man roster.
2013 might be the year we find out if Beckham has a breakthrough year or is a bust. Which way do you think he may go?