Defense wins championships. But offense wins games. And teams can’t win championships without first winning games. Hence, teams need offense to win championships.
Gordon Beckham, are you listening?
Beckham, the 27-year-old Chicago White Sox second baseman, is one of the best defensive second baseman in the game. Whenever he is playing the field and the ball is hit to the right side, I am sure that Beckham will get to the ball and make the play. I have complete confidence in his defensive ability. It’s his offense that makes me nervous.
Beckham was the 8th overall pick in the 2008 draft. He had a productive rookie season and his batting average (.270) and RBI’s (63) from that year still stand as career highs. After that first season, the sky seemed to be the limit for Beckham.
Unfortunately, Beckham has struggled with consistency since.
Whether it was due to injury, lack of fundamentals, or simply more familiarity from opposing pitchers, Beckham has underperformed from the batter’s box.
That being said, there is some hope. Beckham is coming off his best season since 2009. Last season, he hurt his hand in April, but in the first 61 games after coming off the disabled list, Beckham batted .312. So we know that he has the capabilities to be a .300 hitter. Despite the average, last season, he struggled more than usual in the power department. However, that can likely be attributed to his hand not being at full strength.
“Last year I felt good about what I was doing and I think it was showing on the field,” Beckham said. “I feel like I dealt with a lot and I felt like I had a pretty good year last year considering how healthy I was. To fight through that actually gives me more confidence for this year. I think I’m in a good spot and everything feels good. I just have to stay healthy. If I can stay healthy I can do what I am capable of.”
Beckham sure sounds motivated and optimistic about this upcoming season. To go along with this attitude, MLB.com reported that Beckham is using a more upright stance at the plate.
All of this sounds good. Beckham seems healthy and may actually be carrying some momentum from last season. However, when looking at this situation from the perspective of the White Sox organization, this is a crucial year for Beckham.
Let’s face it: Beckham is 27 years old. He is in his prime. If he struggles again this season, the time may be come for the White Sox to find a new second baseman. Beckham’s contact ends in 2016, but not before he gets paid $4.175 million this season. That’s a ton of money for someone who is a lifetime .249 hitter.
In the case that Beckham struggles again this season, there are other players the White Sox could insert in place of him. Marcus Semien got called up last September and posted a .261 average in his 21 major league games. Semien is versatile in that he can play second base, shortstop, or third base. He is also only 23 and so he has greater potential than Beckham. Carlos Sanchez, Leury Garcia, and Micah Johnson are other candidates as well. The White Sox certainly have other options if Beckham falters again this season.
If Gordon Beckham wants to remain with the White Sox, he needs to produce offensively. He’s had five seasons to grow in the MLB and learn the ways. The time for him to hit like a major leaguer is now. Let’s go Gordon Beckham! I’m rooting for you.