Beck Signs Free Agent Deal with Tampa Bay
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas senior first baseman Blair Beck inked a free agent deal with Tampa Bay and earned himself a roster spot with the Rays’ rookie club in the Gulf Coast League (GCL).
“I am absolutely thrilled Blair got the opportunity to play professional baseball,” head coach Ritch Price said. “He had an outstanding senior year. He is a great teammate and a great Jayhawk all around.”
Beck joins classmate Connor McKay as the only two Jayhawks in 2015 to sign contracts with professional teams in Minor League Baseball (MiLB). Beck started the last two season at first base for the Jayhawks, and became just the third transfer player in Price’s tenure to earn himself a spot as team captain.
“Blair is a true baseball rat,” Price said. “There is nobody in the dugout that’s more engaged. The kid loves the game.”
The Midland, Texas native earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors after a senior campaign batting .270 with nine doubles, a team-best eight home runs and 37 RBIs. His eight bombs ranked fourth in the Big 12, while his 37 RBIs were just shy of cracking into the top-10.
Much like his route to Kansas, it took patience and perseverance to find the right team to continue his career, even after three days of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Amateur Draft without hearing his name called.
“Once it got to the 35th (round), I said, ‘I’m going to have to go finish my degree and face the real world,'” Beck told the Midland Reporter-Telegram in an interview after signing. “(After the draft) I got the call and (a Rays scout) just said, ‘How do you feel about being part of Tampa Bay’s organization? I wanted to cry. It felt really good, all the hard work I had put in over the years. When I got that call, I was speechless.”
Of the eight games the GCL Rays have played, Beck has started five of them in the outfield. He tallied the first professional hit of his career, a single, June 25, in a 5-4 loss to the GCL Red Sox.
“His long-term goal is to give back to the game as a coach when his career ends,” Price said. “The experiences he has playing professional ball will make him an even better coach when the time comes.”
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