by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Tim Beckham was once considered an elite prospect, having been selected first overall back in 2008. It’s been an intriguing story, but it would appear that it all finally lined up for the now 27-year old (there’s that magic age) in 2017. Even a mid-season trade to Baltimore failed to derail his impressive campaign, as he piled up the numbers finishing with the following line:
533 At Bats
.278 Batting Average (148 Hits)
22 Home Runs
6 Stolen Bases
.328 On Base Percentage
.454 Slugging Percentage
.365 Batting Average on Balls in Play
It was a solid performance, especially coming from the middle infielder, and he was consistently productive throughout the season (at least on the surface as he hit .274+ with 11 HR in each half). “On the surface” is the key phrase, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg as to the questions he faces heading into 2018 and beyond:
As we said it appears to be there, given his split by half:
- First Half – .274 with 11 HR
- Second Half – .281 with 11 HR
However the second half average is obviously buoyed by one monster month. Sure he hit .394 in August, but he was at .160 in July and .180 in September. That’s not so consistent, and if you take the luck out (.458 BABIP in August) the number would’ve been hideous.
Not only is his overall BABIP bloated, despite a solid 21.8% line drive rate (and that was buoyed by a strong first half, as he was at 18.1% after the All-Star Break), but his plate discipline was downright awful. He struggled to make consistent contact (15.0% SwStr%), and it was basically all types of pitches that plagued him:
- Hard – 11.31%
- Breaking – 19.80%
- Offspeed – 26.16%
So we have a lot of luck coupled with a strikeout rate that will stay inflated? Does anyone truly believe we can bank on an average above .240 in ’18?
Sure there’s some pop, but he didn’t hit many fly balls (29.5%) and benefited from a 20.6% HR/FB. A lot of his success also came against “Hard” pitches, with 10 HR on fourseam fastballs (and he hit .311 against them). Is it really a stretch to think that opponents will instead start to pepper him with breaking balls and offspeed pitches?
Even if he opens the season with a starting job, but does anyone truly believe he’s locked into one all season long?
He’s going to regress, likely significantly, in his batting average… He has some power, but that too could regress… Even if he starts with a job, these struggles should lead to him falling into a reserve role… Obviously the moral here is don’t buy, as the risks far outweigh the reward.
Source – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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