Rays News

Tim Beckham Making the Most of His Opportunity

By David Hill
Mar 23, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA;Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (1) celebrates as he slides home to score a run during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2017; Port Charlotte, FL, USA;Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Tim Beckham (1) celebrates as he slides home to score a run during the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tim Beckham‘s career may have been given a last minute reprieve due to Matt Duffy‘s slow healing heel injury. He is making the most of this opportunity.

While Steve Chilcott and Brien Taylor are the clear poster children for a draft bust, Tim Beckham is not exactly far behind. While Beckham has made the Majors, unlike either Chilcott or Taylor, he has not exactly fared well. In parts of three seasons, Beckham has a career .238/.288/.431 batting line, with his only real value coming from his 14 homers.

Heading into this year, Beckham’s career with the Tampa Bay Rays seemed to be on life support. He was banished to the minors last year due to his base running misadventures, and had been buried on the team depth chart. In fact, he was attempting to learn the outfield in an attempt to become a super utility player in a last ditch attempt to become a useful part of the team.

Even then, he faced an uphill battle to make the Rays, with Nick Franklin essentially making Beckham redundant. And yet, with Beckham’s career with the Rays seemingly on life support, he was given a chance. Matt Duffy has still yet to return from his heel injury, leaving an opening at short. Beckham was given the chance, likely his last, to prove he can be a viable Major Leaguer.

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He has certainly taken this opportunity and run with it. In his 49 Spring Training plate appearances, Beckham has posted a .302/.388/.535 batting line, with seven extra base hits. Although his contact rate is still not where one would want to see it, Beckham is showing an improved batting eye, with six walks and 13 strikeouts. He is actually starting to show signs of being that player the Rays envisioned when they drafted him first overall.

Yes, Spring Training statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt. More often than not, pitchers are working on different things instead of focusing on getting batters out. And the competition is not nearly on the same level as it will be come the regular season.

Nonetheless, just the fact that Beckham is showing positive signs has to be a welcome sight for the Rays. He has emerged as the likely Opening Day shortstop, and could have a significant role until the point that Duffy can return to action. Given the uncertainty around his injury, Beckham could have a real opportunity to prove he can start in the Majors.

Next: Confusion reigns in the Rays bullpen

Tim Beckham had one last chance. Thus far, he is making the most of this unexpected opportunity.

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