One month ago today, Tyler Beckwith’s dream of playing professional baseball became a reality when the Washington Nationals selected the shortstop in the 17th Round of the MLB Draft.
The Mount Airy, Md. native became the 38th Spider to hear their name called in the MLB Draft since 1995, and he was the highest draft pick since 2010.
Beckwith had a stellar career for the Spiders. During his senior season, he was the only Richmond player to start all 52 games and finished the season hitting .319. He was the team leader in nearly every offensive category. The shortstop also landed in the Spider Baseball record book as he is eighth all-time in triples.
Beckwith was at home with his entire family listening to the lie broadcast of the Draft and when his name was called the room went nuts. “I was overcome with so many emotions, but what I remember most about it was a massive sense of gratification from all the years of hard work paying off,” he said. “Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to play baseball in the MLB, and this was a huge day for me as it put me a step closer to achieving that ultimate goal.”
It’s been a month since Beckwith realized his professional baseball dream would come true. He is currently playing with the Gulf Coast League Nationals (GCLN), a rookie-level minor league baseball team, which plays out of Viera, Florida at the Washington Nationals Training Center.
“It’s been exciting being able to get out there on the field to prove my worth and work towards an ultimate goal. The fact that I get to wake up every day and play baseball for a living fires me up, and makes me push myself even harder so that I will hopefully continue to have the opportunity to play for as long as possible,” he said.
There’s definitely a transition period in the game of baseball from the college ranks to the pros.
“There’s an added competitiveness and seriousness to it. It’s not that college baseball wasn’t, but when you throw 30 guys out on the field all fighting to keep their jobs or potentially get moved up a level, there’s that added desire and commitment to the game,” Beckwith said. “I think the biggest adjustment for me has been the level of play and the quality of the each and every player on the field. Plays that would’ve gotten some ‘oohs and ahhs’ in college are now routine, so I have to constantly be at the top of my game to compete.”
A month into his professional career, Beckwith is grateful for the opportunities that he had during his time at the University of Richmond.
“The biggest contribution the University gave me was the opportunity to learn what kind of player and person I was on and off of the field. I think that being able to know who you are as a player is critical, and then playing to your strengths and within yourself is even more crucial,” he said. “My four years at Richmond, and our great coaching staff pushed me to mature and really understand myself as a player. Every day there was another opportunity to get better, and with the resources available I was able to take advantage of those opportunities.”