Tim Beckham, INF, Tampa Bay Rays
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 190 DOB: January 27, 1990
2009: Grade B+; 2010: Grade B-; 2011: Grade C+; 2012: Grade C+
Tim Beckham would be seen as something of a sleeper prospect if his name was Tom Benson and he'd been drafted in the ninth round or something. Alas, Beckham was a first-overall pick in this permutation of the multiverse, and he's probably never going to live that down. Taken on his own terms, without the background, Beckham is an interesting mix of strengths and weaknesses. He has more pop in his bat than many middle infielders, although he doesn't tap it consistently and his offensive production is always right around league average. Sometimes he shows good strike zone judgment, but more often he doesn't.
He's been young for his leagues, but his skills have grown only slowly. He has a good throwing arm, but his range is inadequate for shortstop and he fits better at second base. At times he comes across as a mature hard-worker, but his effort is inconsistent and he's failed two drug tests now, resulting in a 50-game suspension for "drug of abuse" usage. The sabermetric case for him rests entirely on his age-relative-to-league, but he's 23 now and that's becoming less and less relevant. He looks like a utility guy to me, which would be just fine if he'd been a ninth round pick, not someone the Rays invested $6,150,000 in. Grade C+ since he's still young enough to grow, but that's the last year he'll get any slack without genuine skill improvement.