Tampa Bay Rays Prospect Tim Beckham Talks Fans, Family and Future

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Tampa Bay Rays Prospect Tim Beckham Talks Fans, Family and Future
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Earlier this month, I interviewed Tampa Bay Rays prospect Tim Beckham for MiLB.com. The story ran yesterday and was featured on the Rays homepage as well as the top story on the minor league website.

Beckham had a career year in 2011, setting personal bests in hits (142), homers (12) and RBI (70) while committing 22 errors, the fewest of his four-year professional career.

The first overall pick in the 2008 Draft scored 94 runs and swiped 17 bases in 22 attempts in 131 games across two levels. He was selected to the XM All-Star Futures Game for the first time, and he capped off a successful year by helping the Surprise Saguaros to a 26-10 record and the highest winning percentage (.722) in the history of the Arizona Fall League.

Here's an extract from the Q&A, where Beckham discusses the differences of moving up a level, relaxing in the clubhouse and returning home in the offseason.

To find out what Beckham said about the pressure of being a No. 1 draft pick, his favorite pizza joint, playing in the AFL and motivating himself throughout the winter, read the full interview here.

MiLB.com: You got your first look at the Southern and International Leagues in 2011 after spending all of 2010 in Charlotte. What differences did you notice this year?

Beckham: I mean, at the end of the day, it's baseball. The main difference between the Florida State League and the International League and Southern League is that there's less people in the stands. [Also,] the pitchers aren't around the zone as much. In the International League, pitchers throw more pitches for strikes.

I've had good games when nobody's been in the stands, and I've had good games when there have been lots of people in the stands. Everybody likes to play in front of a crowd.

Who doesn't love to do that? It always gets the adrenalin going and I love to play in front of crowds, but I wouldn't say I always have my best games in front of the big crowds.

MiLB.com: When you're trying to stay loose in the clubhouse before a game, who do you tend to hang around with to keep the mood light?

Beckham: This year in Double-A, I hung out with Matt Moore, Shane Dyer, Chris Archer, Nick Barnese, Stephen Vogt and guys like that. But our whole team was great. Everybody had a great attitude and I loved playing with the guys. I wouldn't really say there are any pranksters, but we knew how to have fun.

MiLB.com: What's it like going back to Griffin today?

Beckham: When you go back and see the guys you're hanging with who aren't doing too good, it's tough. To know that they're struggling is hard. You wish the best for them, and you don't want to see them like that.

It's good to see everybody—my teachers, my coaches, my mom, my auntie. It's always great to see your family and the friends who you grew up with. They're not scared of letting me know how proud they are, but I'm not going to let that get into my head. I'm not satisfied. It's not that I'm not where I want to be, but I'm not there yet. There's much better things to accomplish.

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