Don’t know if you saw it, but it’s now official: No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham has signed with the Tampa Rays. Below is the official release from the Rays:
ST. PETERSBURG, FL–The Tampa Bay Rays today signed shortstop Tim Beckham, the first overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Beckham, 18, was drafted by the Rays out of Griffin High School in Griffin, GA on June 5. Beckham, who received a $6.15 million signing bonus, will report to the Rays Appalachian League affiliate in Princeton, W.V., to begin his professional career.
Baseball America ranked Beckham as the No. 1 high school prospect in the country entering the draft. The right-handed hitter batted .482 (53-for-110) with six home runs, 13 doubles, 41 RBI, 58 runs scored and 23 steals in his senior season, leading Griffin to the Region 4-A Championship and to its first state championship series since 1981.
“We are thrilled to add an athlete of Tim’s talent and character to our organization,” said Andrew Friedman, Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. “That we were able to conclude the signing process just two weeks after the draft is a testament both to the relationship that our scouting staff formed with Tim and his family, and of course to Tim’s enthusiasm for the game. He has true five-tool potential, and we look forward to helping him develop his unique abilities.”
Among high school prospects entering the draft, Beckham was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 “best pure hitter,” the No. 3 “best defensive player,” and No. 2 “closest to the majors.” ESPN.com and Baseball Prospectus ranked him as the No. 1 prospect in the 2008 draft.
Beckham hit .512 as a junior with six homers, six triples, nine doubles, 39 RBI and 20 stolen bases, earning honors as the 2007 Baseball America Youth Player of the Year. Last summer he was named the MVP of the Aflac All-American High School Baseball Classic in San Diego after leading the East to victory. Last August, Baseball America ranked him as the “best batting prospect” at the 2007 Area Code Games, held in Long Beach, Calif. Baseball America also tabbed him the No. 1 prospect in the East Coast Showcase in August 2007, “best batting prospect” and No. 3 prospect overall at the 2007 World Wood Bat Association tournament in Marietta, Ga., and the No. 4 prospect in his class at the 2006 WWBA tournament.
Beckham became the first No. 1 selection to be drafted out of a Georgia school since Mike Ivie (San Diego Padres) in 1970, and the third such player overall (also Ron Blomberg, New York Yankees, 1967).
The Rays also drafted Tim’s oldest brother, Jeremy Beckham, an infielder out of Georgia Southern University, in the 17th round. Jeremy signed with the Rays on June 10 and is currently playing for the Princeton Devil Rays.
Twenty-four of the Rays 50 selections have now been signed to contracts.