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Tampa Bay Rays: Tim Beckham Taking to the Outfield

By David Hill
Feb 26, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (1) smiles as he looks on against the Boston Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (1) smiles as he looks on against the Boston Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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In his quest to become the next super utility player for the Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Beckham has begum playing in the outfield. He looked ready in his first game action.

Over the course of his professional career, which began as the first overall pick in 2008, Tim Beckham had never played an inning in the outfield. After beginning his career as a shortstop, Beckham began playing second, before becoming a utility infielder with the Tampa Bay Rays last year.

This season, however, Beckham is facing an uphill battle to find playing time. Nick Franklin has taken over as the Rays utility player, capable of playing almost anywhere on the diamond. And yet, if there is one thing that Tampa Bay covets, it is position flexibility. With that being the case, and in an attempt to reinvent himself, Beckham began learning the outfield this offseason.

Yesterday, he got his first game action in the outfield. He preformed relatively well, although he misplayed a ball that led to an Aaron Altherr triple. While it was just for a few innings in a Spring Training game, the possibility that Beckham could adapt to the outfield quickly may give his career new life.

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We have all seen the stories on how Beckham has been a bust. The names drafted after him, like Buster Posey and Gerrit Cole (although Cole was not signed) certainly stand out. And at 27 years old, Beckham has yet to have a full season in the Majors, furthering his status as a questionable pick.

And yet, the Rays have been able to get value out of those players that no one else wanted. Despite his pedigree as a top overall pick, Beckham is not exactly coveted. A lifetime .238/.288/.431 hitter, he is not someone that will capture a starting role any time soon.

However, he does have a bit of pop in his bat, with 14 homers and 19 doubles in 446 career plate appearances. That potential that made him the top pick is still there, waiting to be tapped into. Maybe, if Beckham can earn a spot on the Rays roster out of Spring Training, and get regular playing time as another super utility player, he could finally deliver on that promise.

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Tim Beckham took the first step to becoming another super utility player for the Tampa Bay Rays with his first action in the outfield. Now, let us see how well his bat responds.

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