Tampa Bay Rays: Whatever Happened to Former First Pick Tim Beckham?

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst IAugust 27, 2012

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  (EDITOR'S NOTE: IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Tim Beckham #64 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Photo Day at Charlotte County Sports Park on February 26, 2010 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

While the Rays continue on their hot streak and their playoff aspirations slowly become a potential reality, there has been a lot of talk concerning the quality of the Tampa Bay farm system.

With prospects such like star rookie starting pitcher Matt Moore, Tampa Bay has built a deep system that will keep them contending for an AL East title every season.

Amongst this plethora of talented prospects is shortstop Tim Beckham.

Every time a player is drafted first overall, there are great expectations. And with these great expectations comes a lofty signing bonus.

Ranked as the top high school player in the country, Beckham was drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 MLB draft. The shortstop from Georgia signed a lucrative $6.15 million contract and seemed primed for a lengthy professional career.

However, Beckham struggled in the minor leagues. Contact was an issue for the shortstop as he has hit only .264 throughout the minor leagues.

But things started to click for the minor leaguer in 2011. His average improved. He started to hit the ball out of the park again. He played well in Double-A and earned a promotion to Triple-A Durham. He was selected to play in the 2011 All-Star Features game with fellow Rays Hak-Ju Lee and Matt Moore. Things were turning around. The first pick in 2008 might have just been getting ready to take on the majors.

However, in May 2012, the unthinkable happened. The high school kid who had played five years in the minors had his second positive drug test. This time, MLB suspended Beckham for 50 games.

His career is a giant question mark at this point. He may come back from his suspension ready to change things around. He may not and prove to be another bust draft pick on a huge list of hit or miss high school prospects.

Only time will tell for Tim Beckham.