Preston Beck is Dallas through and through.
The Frisco Roughriders outfielder/first baseman is a Big D native and a product of Bishop Lynch High School at UTA, so it makes sense that in 2012 he was drafted in the fifth round by his hometown team, the Texas Rangers.
After playing for the ‘Riders in 2015 and 2016, Beck, now 27, is back in Frisco for the third time, and he’s elated over returning to such familiar surroundings.
“It’s awesome,” Beck said. “I love being here, being able to play in front of my family and friends, to get to have them out as much as possible to see me play. It’s always a treat playing here.”
After finishing the 2016 campaign in Round Rock, he spent last season at Dell Diamond, battling through three separate stays on the disabled list.
And even though his 2017 season wasn’t as long as he’d hoped it would be because of his injuries, Beck feels his first full season with the Express was still quite productive.
“It’s crazy because I’ve had real good success there and struggled there a bit. I think just from that experience, I’ve got to realize you can’t go through those big ups and downs, you got to stay even (keeled),” Beck said. “You can’t try to make a swing adjustment every time you get out, you’ve got to trust yourself and go with it.”
When Beck was previously in Frisco, in 2016, playing for the ‘Riders before being promoted to Round rock later in the season, he remembers his father and brother coming to just about every single home game.
However, that might not be the case this season, especially since he told them to save their money spent traversing up and down the Dallas North Tollway since more of the ‘Riders games are on TV than ever before.
One big plus he sees about returning to Frisco is that he again gets the opportunity to play for ‘Riders manager Joe Mikulik, who is in his fourth season at the helm.
“Yeah, Mik’s awesome. I played for him in Myrtle Beach in 2014 and here in 2015 and 2016,” Beck said. “Mik’s a high-energy guy. He wants you to bring it every day. He doesn’t let you get in those lulls throughout the season where you don’t bring energy, so when he’s bringing energy you’ve got no option but to bring energy. Yeah, (he brings it) every day. He gets off the bus after a late bus ride and still has the same energy.”
The last time Beck played in Frisco, in 2016, was the first year of the Lazy River, a unique outfield attraction the Dallas native is well-acquainted with.
“I hit actually I think the first homer into the river in ’16, but it wasn’t actually done yet, so I don’t know if I can take credit for that,” he said.
Beck said Mikulik’s plan is for him to play at first base, in the outfield and occasionally at Designated Hitter (DH).
But regardless of where he plays in the field or where he’s hitting in the lineup, he knows one reason he’s back in the Texas League to bring veteran leadership to what is a young Frisco club.
“I think I’m the second-oldest guy on the team. Normally, I like to let the other hitters know what I see in pitchers after getting an at-bat,” Beck said. “I have a real good feel for that, what pitchers are trying to do and keep guys’ heads up towards their next at-bat. And for some reason, I can remember pitchers from past years, so if I get an at-bat off one guy in 2015, I still remember what he was trying to do to me then.”
This spring, Beck got a big thrill when he took the field at Globe Life Park in Arlington for the Rangers during a late March exhibition game with the Cincinnati Reds, his first time to ever take the field there.
“Yeah, that was my first time actually doing any baseball activities on that field. Growing up here, I’ve seen friends play there and my old college now plays games there, but I’d never played there,” Beck said. “It was cool just to be able to take ground balls and actually get an at-bat and see the backdrop of the stadium while you’re hitting. (It) was a real cool experience.”
Maybe that’s a hint of things to come.