6'0" 190 lbs DOB: 1/27/1990
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
2009: Bowling Green Hot Rods
Acquired: 2008 Draft, 1st Round, 1st Overall
After ranking #1 on our top hitters list last season, Tim Beckham's stock slipped some in 2009, and debate about his ultimate ceiling rages on.
The same problems that plagued Beckham during his pro debut with Princeton continued in Bowling Green: His strikeout and walk rates remained poor and his power was limited mainly to doubles; plus some new issues: His defense was a major concern, with a high error total and less-than-stellar scouting reports, and he was an ineffectual basestealer.
Of course, all hope isn't lost. His batting average improved over .030 points, and he smacked 33 doubles as a 19-year old in full-season ball. Scouts still like the overall talent, but it's clear he's far from a finished product. Beckham isn't performing the way a #1 pick might be expected to, but there's still a lot of upside there, and by all accounts Beckham has the work ethic and attitude to reach it.
He'll be the everyday shortstop for the Charlotte Stone Crabs in 2010. The number one thing to watch is his defense. He has the tools to remain at shortstop, but sloppy footwork and a loss of athleticism contributed to his high error total in 2009. Joe Maddon remarked that Beckham appeared in better shape in the winter workouts, which is certainly a step in the right direction.
The next thing to watch will be his plate approach. He has strong wrists and some raw power, but an over-aggressive approach leads to bad hitters' counts and swinging at bad pitches. If he can reign in his plate discipline, then his other batting numbers should improve along with it. His doubles total is a sign of his burgeoning power, though he doesn't project to be a big-time power threat.
Beckham still has the tools to reach his considerable upside, but 2010 could go a long way as to determining his status. A strong season would silence the critics and he'd emerge as a true shortstop-of-the-future, but another sub-par season and you'll start hearing the word "bust" thrown around. The good news is that he's just now turning 20 years old, and there's more than enough time for him to break through.