Tuesday, June 3, 2008

High school confidential...

Tim Beckham, 18, grew up in Griffin, GA. The small town has produced almost a dozen players who went on to play in the NFL, including Rayfield Wright and Willie Gault. It looks like they'll have a MLB player to add to the list.

As a freshman and sophomore, Beckham was an all-county performer in football as a wide receiver and quarterback, and also played basketball at Griffin HS before he concentrated on baseball. His brother, Jeremy, plays at Georgia Southern.

The 6'2", 191 pound infielder signed with Southern Cal, but there's not much chance of the Trojans having him honor that commitment, not if he goes as high in the draft as the pundits predict.

Beckham hit .500, with 31 RBIs, 40 runs scored, 5 HRs and 16 stolen bases this year. He also drew 22 walks while only whiffing 5 times, and batted .667 during Georgia's high school playoffs.

As a junior at Griffin HS in 2007, Beckham hit .512 with 9 doubles, 6 triples, 6 home runs, 39 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He also played on the Atlanta Blue Jays travel team, appearing in select tournaments. Beckham was ranked the top prospect at the World Wood Bat Association 17-and-under tournament in Marietta, GA, and was named to the AFLAC All America squad.

In 2006, Beckham batted .498. He smacked 6 home runs with 22 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. He was ranked the fourth-best junior at the World Wood Bat Association fall championship.

rates him as a bonafide five-tool player at a premium position. There's a reason why Beckham is at or near the top of draft lists everywhere. He's got tools galore, with some idea of how to use them. Beckham will need to iron out some things mechanically and fundamentally, but he's got the ability and potential to hit, hit for power, steal bases and stay at shortstop at the big-league level.

Beckham has a good feel for the game, but he's got some mechanical flaws to his swing, most notably not turning on the ball the way he should right now. The ball does jump off his bat and he's got tremendous bat speed. His power is more a projection right now, but he's got average to plus power potential.

He's a solid average to plus runner. Beckham is a very athletic middle infielder with wiry strength. He has the arm and range to project as a big league SS.

His downside is that he's a project, albeit one with a huge upside, and probably won't reach the show for awhile.

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