Beck Milner is excited to see all the three-game road series this summer. He looks forward to traveling as a team. After all, Williamsport’s catcher has been on the road quite a lot. And those trips have been without a squad around him.
Milner calls Park City, Utah, home after moving there eight years ago from New York City. He eventually found his way back to the east coast through the Taft School in Watertown, Conn.
The Taft school was the one-two punch Milner was looking for. A boarding school that was challenging academically and gateway to Ivy League baseball, where the 6-feet, 1-inch, 200-pound catcher committed to Yale.
“The Taft School provided me the opportunity of academics and athletics. From the west coast, it’s a little bit harder to get recruited to those east coast schools,” Milner said. “It was something I always wanted, a goal of mine I had and I wanted to find a way to play baseball in college on the east coast.”
Before returning to the eastern seaboard, Milner attended a boarding school in southern California and spent from eighth grade to his sophomore year at the Army Naval Academy. He was interested in flying jets, but turned his attention back to baseball due to allergy reasons.
Having spent the past two years of his life in New England, Milner is readjusted to the climate of the northeast rather than that of the southwest. At least, mostly. Sunshine and collegiate summer ball are much needed after a long winter on the east coast.
“I think I’ve grown accustomed to Connecticut over the years,” Milner said. “The spring, fall and summer are just gorgeous. I won’t comment on the winter because it’s my least favorite season in Connecticut. It’s very, very depressing.”
But one thing that’s not depressing? New Haven style pizza. Frank Pepe’s, Modern and Sally’s compose El Dorado. Milner, spoken like a Connecticut native, agrees New Haven is the pizza capitol of the world.
“It is. If you don’t believe me, Dave Portnoy will let you know,” Milner said. “I cannot give you a perfect ranking yet, but Frank Pepe’s is No. 1 in my mind. I actually haven’t spent enough time in New Haven yet to let you know, but I’ll get back to you.”
Though three of the four seasons are beautiful and the pizza is a whole other ball game, Milner knows why he’s logging time in the Constitution State around his debut in Williamsport. Being exposed to high levels of competition and academics alike are what he wants. And the MLB Draft League will undoubtedly elevate the former as Milner sees top prospects both on his own roster and among the opposing five.
And, he’ll be able to get a true taste of Division I competition before he heads to Yale. While Connecticut doesn’t have many options for hikers like Milner, there’ll be no shortage of valuable opportunities both on the diamond and in the classroom.
“I’m not stuck with Connecticut. Coming from Utah, I definitely prefer the mountains. But Yale provides me an absolutely perfect blend of academics and athletics,” Milner said. “Strong academics and a strong athletic team in the Ivy League meeting teams like Columbia, Princeton and also just incredible academics across the board.”
Milner was a Northeast All-Region First Team selection, Preseason Underclassman All-American, held a No. 1 state position rank with a 191 overall national rank, and his fastball has reached 91 mph.
Having just graduated high school two days prior to the Crosscutters’ media day, Milner is one of two high school players on Williamsport’s roster, along with Penn Foster commit Dinzey Feliz.
“Just being able to live the baseball lifestyle and experience it at a young age is my biggest motivation for coming here,” Milner said on his move to Billtown. “I’m really excited to work with a lot of our pitchers and see what we can do as a catcher and work together as a battery this summer.”
In the second year of the reformed MLB Draft League, Milner joins the scene while it’s still in its infancy. With an expanded season, several road series for the nomad to indulge in and plenty of development in his game to come, the Ivy Leaguer and discount New Englander is ready to roll in the showcase.
“I know the league is new and it’s exciting, and I’m glad to be here,” Milner said. “I hope to do as much as I can to promote the league because I think it’s a great league. Great teams, great competitiveness and great rosters across the board.”