A writer or blogger looking for a simile could have said that Tim Beckham was trapped in the minor leagues like a someone trapped in a locked car. To escape, he was going to need to break through the windshield (or a window, but we’ll ignore that). Well, as the former number one overall pick prepares for his first real chance for extended big league time, the windshield is broken and Drew Smyly will never park his car in the same place again.
For most of the year, Charlotte Sports Park is a minor league stadium. Like most such fields, it is only has limited seating in the outfield, meaning that many home runs leave the ballpark entirely. Tim Beckham’s homer off a BP fastball from Jim Hickey was one such pitch, and here were the results.
Beckham also had a good reaction when talking to reporters afterwards.
All jokes aside, the Rays would love to see Tim Beckham hitting the ball with authority quite often this spring as he hopes to prove his worthiness for a big league roster spot. The Rays really have to contemplate carrying a righty-hitting infielder as their 25th man, and Beckham is the best player they have who fits that description. There has never been a better opportunity for him to earn a chance.
In other news, Alex Colome still hasn’t reported to Rays camp and we talked about how the visa issues may not be as important as they would seem as long as he arrives soon. Luckily for him and for the Rays, his situation may finally be nearing a resolution. Matt Silverman told reporters that he expects Colome to arrive in Port Charlotte this week.
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Colome’s absence has given an opportunity to Nate Karns to impress before his principal competitor for the fifth starter spot even gets the camp. Karns will start for the Rays in their spring opener on Thursday before Matt Andriese, who has an outside chance to make the team, will get the ball on Friday. Alex Cobb will then make his first spring outing on Saturday afternoon.
The good news for Colome, though, is that his Triple-A performance has been much more consistent than Karns and his stuff is at least as good. Are the Rays really going to give their fifth starter spot to a pitcher in Karns who finished last season with a 5.08 ERA, a 3.8 BB/9, and a 1.0 HR/9 with the Durham Bulls?
Karns enters the beginning of spring training games with much to prove, but with Colome still absent, he can take the mound on Thursday with confidence. He has a head start in this race for a rotation spot, and let’s see if he can take advantage of it.