Mills became part of a lesson that sent shockwaves
through the student-athlete population at
Mills' father Brad, an ex-big leaguer and the Red Sox'
bench coach, was already having discussions with then-Sox closer Keith Foulke,
who spent his college days playing for at Lewis-Clark (
"I didn't expect any of this to come up," Mills
said. "But when it did, I was in
Mills decided to play in the Alaska League for Cheff's Alaska Goldpanners team over the summer and immediately wowed the coach.
"He's the best hitter I've ever been around,"
Cheff said. "And that's counting
After hitting .355/.411/.675 with 14 home runs (in 200
at-bats) in his final season with
"Some people say, 'Division I, NAIA totally different,' but you've still got to be in that box," Mills said. "We've faced some good arms, we've faced some OK arms, but no matter what you've got to bear down and face a pitcher like he's the best."
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior has tormented NAIA pitching (.421 batting average with eight home runs and an .829 slugging percentage in the Warriors' first 19 games) with his polished hitting mechanics, tremendous bat speed and strong wrists.
"You can break hitting down into a lot of parts, and when you break Beau down, he's solid in the whole thing," Cheff said. "Biomechanically, he has just a great swing through all parts of the zone. It doesn't make any difference low and in, low and away, up and in. The guy has a great stroke for a variety of pitches and that's what makes him such a great hitter.
"A lot of guys, if they get their pitch, they do a lot of damage. Beau can do a lot of damage to a variety of pitches. He really doesn't have a weakness. The weakness he's going to have is that people won't pitch to him and that he'll have to have patience."
After Mills went 3-for-3 with three doubles and five RBIs
against St. Martin's (
While there's little doubt that Mills' advanced plate approach will translate to professional baseball, his defense gets mixed reviews.
Talent evaluators and opposing coaches have doubts that Mills' arm and bulky frame will play at third base in the big leagues, but Cheff insists that Mills has the athleticism and instincts to stick at the hot corner.
"The guy's a third baseman no doubt. If you had one thing on Beau, his arm might be just a tiny bit short," Cheff said. "But his range and his glove and him being a play-maker . . . he's a prototypical major league third baseman right now."
A potential first-round pick in June, Mills figures to
shatter the record for the highest player ever drafted out of
"That would be great," Mills said. "A local team like that . . . that would be amazing."
So far with the Warriors, Mills is proving that it doesn't matter what team he plays for, he's going to hit.