06/05/2008 3:57 PM ET
Rays select Tim Beckham number one overall in 2008 First-Year Player Draft
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tampa Bay Rays today selected shortstop Tim Beckham with the first overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Beckham, 18, graduated on Saturday from Griffin High School in Griffin, Georgia.
Baseball America ranked him 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-AAAA Championship and to their first state championship series since 1981.
"We are thrilled to announce the selection of Tim Beckham. We project him to be a true impact player," said Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. "He has an advanced offensive approach, coupled with outstanding athleticism and a genuine enthusiasm for the game. We are anxious to get him signed and to begin the path to the Major Leagues."
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, California. 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 is 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 Bloomberg, New York Yankees, 1967).
Beckham also played football and basketball at Griffin. He is the youngest of three brothers, and his oldest brother, Jeremy, is a senior infielder at Georgia Southern University. Tim is of no relation to University of Georgia shortstop prospect Gordon Beckham.
In the 44-year history of the Draft, the Rays today become the first team to hold the No. 1 overall selection for two consecutive years. With a current record of 35-24 (.593), they become the eighth team to draft first overall while holding a winning record on that date. Only twice in history has a team drafted No. 1 overall with a better record on that day: the 2001 Minnesota Twins (37-18, .673; Joe Mauer) and 1995 California Angels (20-13, .606; Darin Erstad).