Inbox: Is Beckham here to stay at short?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from fans

Inbox: Is Beckham here to stay at short?

Tim Beckham will never be the player Buster Posey is, which I'm sure haunts Beckham -- and the Rays, since the Rays drafted him with the first pick of the 2008 MLB Draft. I'm not down on Beckham for that fact. Do you believe what we've seen from Beckham this season is an indication that he's finally turned the corner? Is he the Rays shortstop of the future?
-- John D., Tampa

Beckham has played well, showing a lot of the ability that enticed the Rays to grab him with the first pick of the 2008 MLB Draft. One thing that has helped Beckham is consistent at-bats. Most players will tell you how difficult it is to start a couple of times a week and come off the bench the rest of the time. Beckham has shown that if he gets the at-bats, he can produce. So, yes, I do think he's turned the corner. As well as Beckham has played, it's certainly a good question regarding his status as the everyday shortstop. However, as far as I know, the starting spot will go to Matt Duffy once he's healthy. That will bring a challenge to the Rays to find at-bats for Beckham, whether that means playing second, first, outfield, and occasionally shortstop. 

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Do you think the Rays might send Blake Snell down to Durham to work on his poor fastball command? In 2001, the Toronto Blue Jays optioned pitcher Roy Halladay to their Single-A team in Dunedin, Florida to "rebuild" his delivery. He had pitched at the Major League level from 1998 to 2000. When Roy returned from that stint, he became the most dominant Major League pitcher for most of the 2000s. I think sending him down to significantly improve his command might finally allow him to live up to his potential. What do you think?
-- Ron K., Tampa

Ron, you're not the first guy to broach this subject. Sometimes you wonder whether the Rays are doing Snell any favors by having him work everything out at the Major League level. Having said that, I don't believe the Rays will send him down any time soon. He made some strides in his last outing against the Marlins -- even though he only pitched five innings. Sometimes with young pitchers it's just a matter of getting to where they trust their stuff. Clearly Snell has quality stuff. So perhaps the main battle is Snell believing he has quality stuff.

The Rays are big on development. Can you name a player or two that we should be on the lookout for?
-- Tim M., Clearwater

According to MLB Pipeline, Willy Adames is the top prospect in the organization, and I certainly did not see anything during Spring Training to make me think otherwise of the 21-year-old shortstop. He's got the "It" factor according to Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics, and I'd have to agree. I'm also a big believer in Jake Bauers. I love the way he hits for power, yet he has a good eye. He's not off to a great start at Triple-A Durham, but he's too good of a hitter to not come on before the year is over.

I've got to say, I was surprised the Rays decided to sign Colby Rasmus. Looks to me like he's a broken-down version of his old self. Now that he's back with the team, do you see him fitting in? What are the positives of having him around?
-- Tom M., Sarasota

To me the jury is still out on what the Rays got with Rasmus. During Saturday's game against the Blue Jays he looked really good, hitting a pivotal home run. Will more of those be on their way? If he's healthy as he now seems to be, I don't know why Rays fans shouldn't expect him to come through. Remember, he's playing with a one-year deal, too.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.