Tampa Bay Prospect Tim Beckham Fails Drug Test, Suspended 50 Games
The big news this evening is the suspension of Tampa Bay Rays shortstop prospect Tim Beckham. The former number one pick has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a "drug of abuse." This is the second time he has tested positive: minor leaguers receive a warning after the first positive test, then an automatic 50-game suspension for a second violation.
Beckham wasn't having a great year so far, hitting .204/.290/.278 with six walks and 13 strikeouts in his first 54 at-bats for the Triple-A Durham Bulls. This is weak stuff, granted the sample is small. Four years ago he was considered to be the best high school position player in the 2008 draft by many experts, but his pro career has been quite disappointing. Although he's shown sparks of power, he's never lived up to his potential offensively and is a career .263/.330/.379 hitter in 440 minor league games. His defense at shortstop has gradually improved, although many scouts project a move to second or third base due to limited range. Pre-season, he looked to me like a future utility player, although some analysts still believed he could develop into a regular.
He needs playing time more than anything and obviously this doesn't help. Beckham is saying all the right things about being sorry. I'm sure he is, and 22-year-olds do stupid things. But, well. . .here's the thing I don't understand about any of these cases. They get a freebee. How deep does your personal myth have to be to think, after the first positive test, that you won't get caught if you keep toking up?