Bash It Like Beckham

On August 13th of last year, 357 days ago, Gordon Beckham signed his first professional contract to play baseball, as the White Sox got him to put his John Hancock down two days before the signing deadline. Less than one year later, he might just be their best player.

Called up from the minors on June 4th, one week after being promoted to Triple-A, Beckham had a rough introduction to the big leagues. He went 0 for 13 in his first four games and looked a little rough transitioning from shortstop to third base. The was-he-rushed questions were inevitable, considering the White Sox had only let him rack up 250 plate appearances in the minors.

Beckham has answered those questions, and then some. Since he got his first major league hit on June 9th, he’s hitting .339/.398/.540 with 23 extra base hits and 17 walks in 197 plate appearances. He’s been even hotter than that lately – .416/.466/.675 since July 11th, spanning 88 plate appearances over his last 21 games.

Did I mention that this is his first year as a professional?

Even with the rough start and some struggles learning third base, Beckham has been worth +1.2 wins in 53 games with the White Sox. Calling up the youngster after just two months in the minors has been one of the main reasons the White Sox are still in the AL Central race. If the White Sox fans weren’t sold on their first round pick a year ago, they are now – this kid is the real deal.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Not to be a downer and skeptic, but doesn’t it seem like a lot of his success so far is unsustainable? His babip is at .349 and he’s not exactly crushing a lot of line drives for it to stay at that level. Obviously he’s got a lot of talent, and a lot of his numbers indicate that he’s going to be successful in the bigs, but he’s not Evan Longoria (yet). His average and OBP look like they could come back to earth pretty quickly… without the average and OBP, would we be talking about him like he’s already adjusted and ready to play in the bigs?