The 2017 MLB Trade Deadline. The day that the Tim Beckham Era finally came to an end in Tampa Bay.
It truly never really started.
(FUN FACT: Before I was a writer of sports, I was an English teacher. I taught in Griffin High School in Griffin, Georgia. Tim Beckham was a student in my class. I knew little about him as a baseball player back then in 2004, but I can tell you he actually really liked Shakespeare, and played an awesome Romeo in our re-enactments.)
The Rays made a move to clear up some space on both the 40-man roster and infield. Some felt Beckham’s days were numbered earlier this season when the Rays brought in Adeiny Hechavarria. Apparently they were right.
Though Beckham was able to slide to second base in Tampa, it was only for a limited amount of time. Once Brad Miller returned from the disabled list, Beckham was relegated to a platoon man, something his splits didn’t necessarily warrant.
Beckham fills a void for the Orioles, with J.J. Hardy still sidelined by a broken wrist. Though he has had his issues with both adjusting to professional baseball and clashes with management, he played the entire 2017 season in the bigs for the first time in his career. He was slashing .259/.314/.407 with a career-best 12 home runs. He is seemingly all-or-nothing with the bat, adding just five doubles and striking out 110 times in 345 plate appearances (that’s 32 percent of the time).
What were the Rays able to get in return?
TOBIAS MYERS, RHP
Myers won’t be of immediate help for the Rays. The young, right-hander is 18 years old, and was pitching in the New York-Penn League at the time of the trade.
I have never seen Myers pitch, but most reports indicate that he is a big fastball pitcher, working on developing his secondary stuff. He came out of Winter Haven High School in Florida, with a fastball that worked around the 90 mile-per-hour range. He added some weight to his 6-foot frame, now listed at 193 after being at 175 on the draft board.
He’s used that bulk to his advantage. Eduardo Encina reports that he hits 93 to 96 miles per hour, and holds that velocity into his starts, already hurling six innings twice this season. Myers mixes in a change and a curve that are still works in progress. The curve is already seen as average and gets some swings.
Myers appears to be quality at getting a lot of swings actually, and not at the expense of control problems. He has struck out 36 in his seven starts that spanned 29.2 innings, while walking just six, a 5.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Myers gets slightly hit around, with a .235 batting average against. Though his ERA sits at 3.94, his FIP is 2.11, so maybe some of that unpolished fielding behind him is to blame.
His ground ball rate also jumps out at you. A 48-percent ground-ball-rate is particularly nice, especially paired with a 28-percent fly-ball-rate. The numbers were similar last year in his three appearances in the Gulf Coast League, so it’s consistent, albeit a small sample size. He’s pretty dominant against lefties, striking out 22 and walking four, while limiting them to a .182 batting average. Righties appear to handle him well, posting a .302 batting average against. Though all reports are that he has a smooth, repeatable delivery, perhaps he could use some more deception approaching righties.
Overall, the Rays got something to work with as they close the books on the storied saga of Beckham. Beckham will get the chance to play back at his normal shortstop position in Baltimore. With Hardy’s option up at the end of the season, and Beckham under control, perhaps he can reach some of those lofty expectations in a new environment.