ATLANTA—As productive as the 2012 season proved to be for William Beckwith, the big first baseman endured his share of bumps in the road.
A 21st-round pick from George Wallace (Ala.) CC in 2010, Beckwith made the low Class A Rome roster out of spring training, but he found himself back in extended spring training in mid-April as the Braves struggled out of the gate.
While Beckwith's performance at the plate was never in question—he hit .304 in 12 April games—his attitude left something to be desired. Atlanta provided an extended change of scenery to help Beckwith with his mindset, keeping him in Orlando until May 17.
"He's a good kid, and you really have to tip your cap to the changes he made," Rome manager Randy Ingle said. "His attitude and his approach to the game really improved. He learned from a few of other guys and wound up having an outstanding season for us."
The 22-year-old Beckwith raked upon his return to the South Atlantic League, emerging as one of the driving forces behind Rome's worst-to-first turnaround in the second half. He batted .291/.360/.478 in 381 at-bats and led Rome with 15 home runs, 26 doubles and 78 RBIs.
The Braves have been intrigued with Beckwith's potential since his high school days in Columbus, Miss., after which he turned down the Royals as a 46th-round pick in 2008.
Atlanta liked Beckwith's quick lefty swing, plate discipline and above-average raw power. He also showed better-than-expected quickness at first base, in light of his 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame.
"He has some things he's working on, but he's heading in the right direction," Ingle said. "It'll be interesting to watch him as he moves up the organization."
• Righty reliever Juan Jaime impressed the Braves with his performance for high Class A Lynchburg, which included 18 saves and 73 strikeouts in 51 innings. He missed all of 2010-11 with injuries, earning his release from the Diamondbacks, and he's already 25.
• In another pro scouting success story, the Braves signed 6-foot-8 righty Gary Moran, 27, out of the Frontier League in June 2011 and he led the Double-A Southern League with a 2.91 ERA this season. The Giants originally signed him out of the 41st round of the 2009 draft, but released him following 2010 spring training.