Beau Bradley Mills
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 220 lb.
- Schools Fresno State; Lewis-Clark State College
- High School Golden West High School
Beau Mills was a highly regarded prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization, but his progression up the professional ladder stalled after a promising start. The first-round draft pick has played mostly first base in the minors, but he also has experience at third from his high school and college careers. He was awarded Cleveland's highest honor for position players in their system - the Lou Boudreau Award - in 2008, but his career began to sputter shortly afterwards. Mills is a second-generation professional ballplayer. His dad, Brad, made it to the majors with the Montréal Expos in the 1980s.
Mills is the son of the former Expos player and Houston Astros manager Brad Mills. His mother is Ronda Mills who is a region manager for Medical Billing Technology. Beau has two older sisters, Taylor and Rochelle.
On November 29, 2008, Mills married Alicia Vannette.
High School Career
As a sophomore in 2002, Mills was his team's Rookie of the Year and was named the third baseman on the All-West Yosemite League team.
In his junior year, Beau was the team captain as well as its offensive MVP. He also repeated as the all-league third baseman.
As a senior in 2004, Mills was named a high school All-American and the Varsity Player of the Year as he led his team to the league title. Following the end of the season, Beau was drafted in the 44th round of the 2004 Amateur Draft by the Boston Red Sox. He declined, and decided to attend Fresno State in the fall.
Prior to starting his freshman year at Fresno State, Mills played with the Salina Valley Packers of the California Collegiate League in the summer of 2004. In the July 30 game, Mills was beaned in the head which precipitated a bench clearing brawl.
With Fresno State in 2005, Mills led the Western Athletic Conference in home runs (22), slugging percentage (.699), and RBI (63), as well as multiple RBI games. He led his team in runs (54), doubles (12), triples (2), and home runs while playing in every game on his team's schedule. He was named the WAC Player of the Week on March 21. Among the season ending honors, Mills was named a Freshman All-American, an All-Western Region ABCA Honoree, a First-Team All-WAC third baseman, and the WAC Freshman of the Year. Following the season, Beau was one of 36 players nationally to be invited to the Team USA Tryouts.
In 2006, Mills hit .355 with 58 RBI, 20 doubles, and 14 home runs. He led his team in hits, doubles, and RBI, and tied for the lead in home runs. His athletic accomplishments were overshadowed by his academic shortcomings though.
On May 24, Fresno State suspended Mills for the final two games of the regular season, as well as all post season and tournament games for what have been called "academic and team code-of-conduct issues." During an interview for USA Today in the summer of 2007, Mills claimed that he was "glad he went through" the experience. It forced him to "grow up a little" after taking the academic side of college for granted and "coasting for two years, just trying to get by." In a 2008 interview with the Kinston Free Press, Mills expressed that he was punished too harshly for "missing some classes" and felt that he was being made an example of as a lesson to other players. In his words, the severity of the punishment "really hurt". His father, Brad, was quoted as saying "It wasn't a good fit at Fresno State". As a result of this suspension, Beau decided to transfer to another school.
During the summer of 2006, Mills played for the Alaska Goldpanners (Fairbanks) of the Alaska Baseball League. After a productive summer, he was named to the all-league team as a designated hitter. Baseball America named him the top prospect in the circuit. Mills, who describes himself as a "real outdoorsman" who loves to fish and hunt, especially enjoyed his downtime in Alaska.
For 2007, Mills transfered to Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho at the suggestion of Keith Foulke. He was also familiar with the manager, Ed Cheff, from his time with the Goldpanners. While with Lewis-Clark, Beau established a new National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) single season home run mark with 38 (post season included). His regular season numbers included 33 HRs, 113 RBI, 91 runs, 222 total bases, and a 1.000 slugging percentage. In the final game of the 2007 NAIA College World Series, Mills hit three home runs and had eight RBI to lead his team to a 9-2 victory over Spring Arbor University. Just prior to the game, Beau was named NAIA Player of the Year. Following the game he was awarded tournament MVP honors. He was named to the NAIA All-America Team as a third baseman.
At some time during the 2007 season, Mills injured his right shoulder. It was not serious enough for Beau to require surgery or for him even to miss much playing time, but it would affect decisions made about him at the start of his professional career.
Mills majored in Criminal Justice at Lewis-Clark.
Minor League Career
Mills was picked in the first round (13th overall) of the 2007 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. He was able to experience the draft with his family in a luxury box at McAfee Coliseum prior to a Red Sox-A's game his dad was coaching in. Beau was signed quickly by scout Greg Smith and earned a $1.575 million signing bonus.
He reported to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and got into eight games before being called up to the Lake County Captains. Beau played 44 games in the South Atlantic League where he hit .271/.333/.435 with 5 HRs, 36 RBI, and 12 doubles (.321 against southpaws). Mills made it to High-A at Kinston in the Carolina League before the end of the season where he played in ten games as well as three postseason games.
The KTribe never made it out of the first round against the Salem Avalanche. Although he did not get any hits in the playoffs, Mills still had a .333 OBP and one run thanks to walks. The decisive third game of the series was tied at 3-3 in the eighth inning, when Mills, playing third, made an errant throw while trying to field an infield single off the bat of Tim Torres which allowed Mitch Einertson to score the go ahead run. The Avs added another run for insurance, and Kinston was unable to mount a comeback in the ninth.
Mills was assigned to Kinston again for 2008. After a slow start, Beau started hitting well after July 1. In July and August, he hit .332 with 11 doubles, 10 home runs, and 40 runs batted in in 49 games. During the last week of the season, Mills was named the Carolina League's Most Valuable Player and a Carolina League Post-Season All-Star. At the time of his selection, Beau was leading the league with 21 home runs and 90 RBI while hitting .293. On September 21, Mills and Chris Gimenez were given the Indians' Minor League On-Base Program "On-Base-Where Careers Take Off" award prior to an Indians game with the Detroit Tigers. Mills was given the award in recognition of leading the franchise's minor leaguers in "hard-hit at-bats". It was determined that he hit the ball hard in 52 percent of his at-bats. Baseball America named him to its High Class A All-Star team in October. In November, Mills also won the 2008 Lou Boudreau Award, Cleveland's award for its top minor league position player. 2008 proved to be the best season of his professional career.
In the Arizona Fall League, Mills finally started to show some fatigue from his long season. Playing first base and some outfield for the Surprise Rafters, Beau hit .239 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI in 18 games. Despite the sub-par performance, he was named as an AFL Rising Star on October 23.
Mills spent most of his minor league career at first base - 473 out of 629 games. This began mainly due to his lingering shoulder injury from his college days. He has stated that third is where his heart is, and Cleveland initially wanted to move him back over there as his shoulder healed. Early in 2008, Cleveland decided to keep Mills at first full time - a move that initially made Beau uncomfortable. He made nine errors at Kinston learning his new defensive role. By the spring of 2009, Beau was becoming much more comfortable with his new position. Cleveland manager Eric Wedge was quoted about the move that "He still needs a lot of work at first base, but he's getting better over there." In another interview Wedge said "He's found a home at first base."
In 2009, Mills was again invited to the big league camp for spring training. While in the major league camp, Beau saw action in nine games. He hit .231 with a .577 slugging percentage, a double, a triple, two home runs, six runs batted in, and four runs scored. His RBI total was tied with Grady Sizemore for fourth when he left.
Mills started 2009 at Double-A Akron in the Eastern League. His year began slowly as he only got three hits in the first five games of the campaign. Seeking guidance, Mills and teammate Nick Weglarz, who had a similar start, approached manager Mike Sarbaugh for any suggestions to end their slumps. Sarbaugh jokingly advised them to shave their heads which they promptly did. In the next game, Mills went 3 for 4 against the Altoona Curve which raised his average about 100 points on the young season. Nick went hitless. In July, Mills was selected to play in the EL All-Star game. he finished the year with a .267 batting average in 134 games, with 33 doubles, 14 homers and 83 RBI.
Expected to graduate to AAA in 2010, Mills was instead sent to Akron for a second go-round, but his production regressed significantly. He played 113 games, but his batting average fell all the way to .241, with 26 doubles, 10 homers and 72 RBI. He was on the disabled list briefly with a strained rib cage muscle. The Indians became concerned, as he was relatively healthy all year and there was no reason for such a poor year against competition he had mastered the previous season. In June, Mills, Jerad Head and Josh Tomlin were arrested and charged with felonious assault on a man who was seriously injured at a bar called Whiskey Dicks in Akron. The man, Theodore Zeman III, was allegedly taunted and beaten by the players. Zeman spent two days in the hospital with a broken rib and punctured lung. On July 23, a Summit County grand jury reduced the charges to disorderly conduct.
In 2011, he was back at Akron to start the season, and this time did noticeably better, hitting .300 in 61 games, with 16 doubles and 11 homers. He appeared to have righted himself and was promoted to the AAA Columbus Clippers in mid-season, his first experience at that level. However, he was limited to 35 games by injuries. He did not do badly, hitting .269 with 6 doubles and 7 homers, but was not given a shot at the major leagues. He returned to Columbus to start 2012, but the bottom suddenly fell out of his production. In 39 games, he was hitting .197/.239/.394. Both Matt LaPorta and Russ Canzler had passed him on the Indians's depth chart, and on June 21st, he was sent to the Cincinnati Reds, with the Indians only receiving cash in return. Showing how much his stock had fallen, he was immediately assigned back to AA, reporting to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League. He hit .267 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI over 60 games with Pensacola. For the first time in his professional career, Beau played a game in the outfield.
Following the 2012 season, Mills retired from baseball. For his career, he hit .267 with 86 home runs, 153 doubles, and 8 triples over six seasons. His 207 walks helped contribute to a .331 OBP.
Post Playing Career
In an April 2013 interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Brad Mills said that his son was on a ranch in Orange, TX raising bucking bulls. The family had been involved with the enterprise for several years and Beau grew to like it well enough to take it on full time.
Sources and Further Reading
- Assenheimer, Chris: "Indians' Beau Mills Has Major League Talent To Go With His Major League Name", in The Chronicle-Telegram, March 6, 2009.
- Barone, John: "Charges Against Three Farmhands Reduced", in MLB.com, July 23, 2010.
- Boogaard, Andy: "Winning Attitude: Golden West Baseball Player Beau Mills, His Dad Adapt To Being Apart", in The Fresno Bee, March 26, 2004.
- Browne, Ian: "Father's Day Comes Early For Mills: Red Sox Coach Able To Share In His Son's Draft Day Moment", in MLB.com, June 15, 2007.
- Castrovince, Anthony: "Huff, Mills Earn Minor League Awards: Former Top Draft Picks Deliver For Indians' Affiliates In 2008", in MLB.com, November 20, 2008.
- Castrovince, Anthony: "Sights Set High For Tribe Prospect: First Baseman Mills Ready To Take Next Step At Double-A Akron", in MLB.com, February 18, 2009.
- Crow, Chuck: "Tribe's Mills Is Born To Baseball", in The Plain Dealer, March 7, 2008. Blog posting of article
- Gray, Kevin: "On Baseball: Sox Coach Keeps An Eye On Rising Prospect, His Son", in the Union Leader, June 18, 2009.
- Gribble, Andrew: "Mills, Gimenez Honored By Tribe, Airline", in MLB.com, September 21, 2008.
- Hall, David: "The Baseball Player", in Kinston Free Press, April 6, 2008.
- Hoynes, Paul: "Beau Mills, David Huff Named Indians Top Minor Leaguers", in The Plain Dealer, November 20, 2008.
- Hoynes, Paul: "Plenty of Bull in Former Tribe Draft Pick's New Career: Cleveland Indians Chatter", in The Plain Dealer, April 19, 2013.
- Hoynes, Paul: "Three Cleveland Indians Minor Leaguers Arrested for Altercation in Akron", in The Plain Dealer, June 24, 2010.
- Marks, Craig: "Not A Time To Get Caught In A Rundown: New Aero, Fresh From Alaska, Regales With Moose-Chase Tale", in The West Side Leader, April 16, 2009. 
- Marquez, Damian: "Where Are They Now?: Golden West Grad Beau Mills Swinging Hot Bat For Aeros", in The Visalia Times-Delta, July 21, 2009.
- McDonald, Joe: "Fathers And Sons: Brad Mills And John Farrell Also Have Sons Playing Professional Baseball", in The Providence Journal, March 3, 2009.
- Paulling, Daniel: "Mills: Big-Time Prospect At Small School", in USA Today, June 3, 2007.
- Rosen, Jacob: "Aeros 1B Beau Mills Heating Up", in Waiting For Next Year (blog), June 4, 2009.
- Storm, Stephanie: "Mills Has Decades Of Experience", in The Beacon Journal, April 29, 2009.
- Storm, Stephanie: "Mills, Sarbaugh Face Bald Truth On Slumps: Young Aeros Learn Trying To Change Luck Is Fun", in The Beacon Journal, April 16, 2009.