Tim Beckham has arrived

US PRESSWIRE

Sort of.

He's made it. After six years, gallons of angst, and more catcher envy than a fanbase should have to go through, the Rays' 2008 first round pick (the first pick overall) has been promoted to the major league team. Here's the path Tim Beckham took, lifted from his FanGraphs page:

Year Age Level PAs BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
2008 18 R 197 6.6% 21.8% .243 .297 .345
2009 19 A 537 6.3% 21.6% .275 .328 .389
2010 20 A+ 541 11.5% 22.0% .258 .346 .361
2011 21 Winter 107 14% 23.4% .244 364 .489
2011 21 AA 468 8.3% 19.4% .275 .339 .395
2011 21 AAA 111 2.7% 26.1% .255 .282 .462
2012 22 Winter 85 5.9% 15.3% .231 .271 .346
2012 22 AAA 323 9.0% 22.0% .256 .325 .361
2013 23 AAA 522 8.4% 20.7% .276 .342 .387

What I see there is a young middle infielder with a possibly patient approach, but not the most discerning of eyes or controlled of bats. He strikes out too much for someone without a ton of power. But there's good news for three reasons:

  1. He's not a finished product. I know people have been saying he's young for his level for ages, and I know he's no longer all that young for his level, but he's still young. Only 23 and in the majors isn't the end of things.
  2. He plays a premium position and has tools. Word on the street (by the street I mean twitter, and by twitter I mean Adam Sobsey — if you don't follow and read, you're missing out) is that his arm at shortstop will impress. I'm excited to resolve the many arguments about his future position by actually seeming him field.
  3. It doesn't really matter right now if he's any good at all. He's not in St. Pete to propel the Rays into the playoffs. He's here to sit on the bench and then enter the game when Joe Maddon needs a certain type of body. He'll enable Maddon to pinch hit Luke Scott for Sean Rodriguez late in a game against a tough righty. He'll take Jose Molina's spot on first base if Molina singles in the twelth inning and Sam Fuld and Freddy Guzman have already been used as runners. From the edge of the September roster, he'll whisper in Maddon's ear, "Don't worry about the future, do what you have to do right now."

So let's not get too caught up in whether Tim Beckham is a gigantic disappointment or a beacon of hope. There will be plenty of time to work that out during the off-season. For now, he's just an interesting new defender to scout, a right handed bat at a premium position, and a very minor piece in the race to the playoffs.

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