THE GOOD: The consensus seem to be that the Rays took the player with the best chance to be a superstar in the big leagues, in Tim Beckham.
THE TELLING: While people differ on what kind of bat Tim Beckham has, most seem to agree that he is already at or near major league caliber defensively.
The question then becomes: How does this selection affect the future of Reid Brignac? There were already questions over his future with the gold clove-caliber defense of Jason Bartlett now manning the shortstop position for the Rays at the big league level. Bartlett, who will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this off-season, is still under the Rays control for the next three seasons. While Brignac certainly is better offensively, there are concerns over inserting him next season considering much of the Rays emergence is due to the improved defense and the chemistry between Bartlett and Aki Iwamura.
Beckham is expected to move quickly through the minors, even as a high school draftee. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that he will be ready for the big leagues by the end of 2010. It seems more than likely that the Rays will stick with Bartlett for the next 2+ seasons until Beckham is ready to make the jump.
So then the next question is: What happens to Reid Brignac? Brignac who is now considered an above-average defensive shortstop may have to move to a new position (right field?) if he is to make his break with the Rays. Otherwise, Brignac’s future may lie with another organization.
- Baseball America says that when push came to shove, the Rays drafted the player with the best ability. [Baseball America]
- Minor League Ball says that the Rays 5th round pick,
Jason ChristianMichael Sheriden, a college first baseman, could be a sleeper. [Minor League Ball]
- Andrew Friedman commented on reports that the Rays steered away from Buster Posey because of his pre-draft demands for a $12 million guaranteed contract. [Rays Report]
“That had zero factor in our decision,” he said. “We’re confident that whoever we would have taken, with the size of the check we were going to go to the table with that we’d be able to sign whoever we took. Look, everyone makes different demands leading up to the draft – even second-rounders, third-rounders. We trust our process and our ability to get players signed and the relationships that our area [scouts] have made with the players. It had zero factor for us.”
- The Rays hope to sign Beckham quickly. Marc Lancaster speculates it will take longer than the agreement reached with Evan Longoria but shouldn’t take nearly as long as the deal with David Price which went right down to the August 15th deadline. Lancaster notes that the Rays will move more quickly with Beckham not being a pitcher as innings thrown is not a concern. Last year, the Rays did not want to add any more innings to Price’s arm after his college season. [Rays Report]
- Marc Topkin has reactions from the Rays and from Tim Beckham. [St. Pete Times]
- Today the Rays drafted Tim Beckham’s older brother, Jeremy Beckham, a second baseman from Georgia Southern University. [Rays Report]