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 BAD: Can somebody please explain to us why Tim Beckham was wearing an old Devil Rays’ cap after he was drafted? And apparently Mr. Beckham needs to work on his telephone interview skills.

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.

DRAFT WEBTOPIA

  • 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 Christian Michael 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]
 
 

11 Comments

  1. DirtbagFan says:

    Maybe it was a “Throwback” hat… way back to the glory days of, oh, i don’t know 2006…

    Please stop saying that Bartlett is playing gold-glove style defense at SS, he’s been inconsistant at best; his footwork at times reminds me of 2 junior high kids at their first slow-dance, and he has about as much throwing power as my 8 year old, For every “rangy” play he makes he makes 2 bobbles/errors.

    You also made reference to the fact that in the future the Rays don’t want to upset the chemistry between Aki and Noodle-Arm, yet when I recently asked you about Brignac’s future you made some mention of the fact that Aki will probably not be around for much longer anyway, so what SS/2B combo do you see in let’s say 2010 ??

  2. The Professor says:

    it is simply a shift in philosophy and priorities based on this draft pick. The Rays have a 2010 option on Iwamura for only $4.25MM.

    If Beckham is the future shortstop, it might not make sense to put Brignac in there for only 1 or 2 seasons. Why not stay with the current makeup if it is working.

    If Brignac is your future shortstop, then you want him in there sooner rather than later.

  3. DirtbagFan says:

    I understand the change in thought process in regard to Brignac. I was simply asking how any of that had changed the situation with Aki.

  4. The Professor says:

    this is just how i personally would handle it…if Beckham is my future shortstop. stick with Bartlett and pick up Aki’s 2010 option. then you have a stable infield for 3 years with an eye towards debuting Beckham full-time in 2011 and somebody new at second base. Put Brignac in right field.

  5. DirtbagFan says:

    okay, so let’s say that’s exactly the way the Rays intend to play it. does that place Brignac in RF fulltime as of next season, or do they wait until 2010? When does Brignac start getting starts in RF in the minors?

  6. The Professor says:

    my guess is they wait until the Arizona Fall League. if we see Brignac playing right field there, then we know their plan. And then again in the Spring. they can afford to wait.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Jason Christian was taken in the 5th by Oakland, Sheridan the rays took who they also listed as a sleeper.

  8. The Professor says:

    /fixed

    thanks!

  9. DirtbagFan says:

    PROF: Have a good weekend…

  10. Robert Rittner says:

    I am not sure who you are watching at shortstop, but you could not be more wrong about Bartlett. He has an excellent arm, very strong throwing from deep in the hole, and he is as smooth a shortstop, including practically perfect footwork, as you will see.

    A major reason for the Rays pitchers improved ERAs is his play at shortstop.

  11. Scot says:

    I’m not going speak about Bartlett’s arm or foot but rather speak about the data we have.

    Given that the Rays last year were the worst defense in the modern times and now one of the top 3 and given the fact that positions have changed primarily at SS, 2b and 3b (with 3b of 07 being 2b of 08), we can probably assume that Mr. Bartlett is playing very well.

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