Mariners Insider Blog

And with the first pick, Tampa Bay chooses ....

Here's the Associated Press story on the Rays' top pick:

The Tampa Bay Rays selected Tim Beckham with the No. 1 pick in the baseball draft, choosing the talented high school shortstop from Griffin, Ga., over Florida State catcher Buster Posey.

Beckham was recognized as one of the best pure athletes in the draft and labeled a legitimate five-tool player. He established himself as the top prep prospect in the nation with solid performances at last summer's high school showcase events and hit .500 with five homers, 31 RBIs and 16 stolen bases this season.

"I found out this morning. ... The scouting director gave me a call and the general manager gave me a call. It was crazy. I was about to do a backflip in my room," Beckham said.

"It means everything in the world. I've worked this hard the last three or four years, me and my brothers and my dad. This means all the hard work paid off. I hope to become an All-Star and after that I want to become a Hall of Famer."

This is the second straight year the Rays have had the No. 1 pick. David Price, a hard-throwing left-hander from Vanderbilt, was the choice in 2007 and is off to a great start with Class-A Vero Beach.

Beckham is the third high school shortstop taken No. 1 overall in the last five years, joining Justin Upton (Arizona, 2005) and Matt Bush (San Diego, 2004).

There is always pressure to get the No. 1 pick right, but the Rays imposed some extra heat on themselves this year because they're hoping it will be years before they'll be in a position to select first again.

Tampa Bay whittled its list of candidates for the top pick to five, then trimmed it to two — Beckham and Posey, a converted shortstop who developed into one of college baseball's top offensive and defensive catchers over the past year.

The Rays called Posey a couple of hours before the draft to inform him that they were going to select Beckham. The Florida State star wound going to the San Francisco Giants with the fifth pick.