Gordon Beckham: An Early 2010 Projection

Gordon Beckham is certainly a hot topic now, and not just because he’s a candidate for the Rookie of the Year Award (though I don’t think he deserves the trophy in a deep AL class).  As far as fantasy owners are concerned, the much more important story is his move to second base, thanks to the acquisition of Mark Teahen.

Obviously, he was not included in my original second base rankings (click here to view), and despite not being eligible there on draft day, he will likely be included moving forward (it won’t take long for him to gain eligibility).

He made a splash in his major league debut in 2009, posting the following line:

378 At Bats
.270 Batting Average (102 Hits)
14 Home Runs
63 RBI
58 Runs
7 Stolen Bases
.347 On Base Percentage
.460 Slugging Percentage
.294 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Right off the bat, from the BABIP you can tell that the average is a realistic number.  He struck out a fair amount (17.2%), but at the same time showed that he was capable of drawing a walk (9.8%).  It is tough to tell if those ratios are realistic or just an aberration, however.

He had a very brief minor league career (233 AB) across three levels of the minor leagues.  He posted a strikeout rate of 14.16%, so it is easy to believe in the rate he posted in his rookie season.  However, his walk rate was just 7.54%, so it leads me to believe that there could be a falloff coming there.

How about the power?  He had just seven home runs in the minor leagues, though he did have a slugging percentage of .519.  He hit a ton of doubles, and at 23-years old playing in a hitter’s park (though 10 of his 14 HR came on the road), there certainly is a good chance that he develops a bit more power in 2010.

He spent the majority of time in the number two slot in the line-up last season (218 AB), a spot that the team is clearly comfortable having him in.  Obviously it is going to depend on their offseason moves, but for now it would appear likely for him to continue in that role.  That will limit his potential RBI value, but should allow him to score some runs.

The speed?  It’s tough to say, honestly.  I would think he’s going to run some (he did attempt 11 SBs in 2009), but he had just two stolen bases in three attempts during his minor league career.  I would not extrapolate 15-20 SBs from his 2009 performance, but I would think he could reach double-digits.

With all that said, let’s take a look at the line I think he could post in 2010:

.278 (153-550), 22 HR, 75 RBI, 80 R, 12 SB, .308 BABIP, .335 OBP, .456 SLG

Is that a strong line, especially for a second baseman?  Yeah, it is solid and they definitely are numbers that I wouldn’t mind owning, but not as a top option.  Remember that in 2009:

  • Eight 2B had 23 HR or more
  • Eleven 2B had 80 R or more
  • Eight 2B had 80 RBI or more
  • Eleven 2B had 15 SB or more

Obviously, his advantage is that he helps across the board, unlike a “specialty” player who gives you just speed or just power.  Still, he doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally, which does detract from his potential value.

In time he could develop into one of the elite power hitting 2B in the league, but he is far from accomplishing that at this point.  Keep that in mind before vaulting him up your rankings (outside of keeper leagues).

What are your thoughts?  Am I being too critical of Beckham?  How good do you think he’ll be?

Previous 2010 Projections:

To read the previous article, click here.

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

6 comments

  1. Miles says:

    I’m thinking Beckham will drafted too high by an owner with high expectations and that Martin Prado (2B and 3B at CBS) will be a better pick with a much lower draft pick and put up comparable numbers.

  2. Phil says:

    For some reason I see him as Chase Utley-Light. He’s a polished hitter that was drafted out of college. In his first 2 seasons (under limited ABs) Utley had a line of:
    2003: 134AB .239 avg 10 doubles 2HR .373 slug .696 OPS 11bb/22k
    2004: 267 AB .266 avg 11 doubles 13 HR .468 slug .776 OPS 15bb/40k

    I don’t think Beckham will have Utley’s power, especially next season. Plus, obviously Utley’s ballpark helps him out a bit.. but US Cellular is pretty kind to hitters too)

    Put it this way, I could see .285 85 Runs 20 HR 80 RBI 10 steals… bb/k around 40/80 for Beckham… which puts him about 10 HR 10 steals and 20-30 RBI less then Utley for a fraction of the price… as long as someone doesn’t reach too too hard on him… I’ll be owning him next year.

  3. Mark says:

    I like the argument you make about just how deep the 2B position was last year. I think Beckham would have been a lot more valuable if the White Sox decided to move Alexei back to second and have Gordon be the shortstop of the future. Shortstop was much weaker last year and should be again this year.

  4. howard hansen says:

    How many 2B not named Utley project better than Beckham in all 5 categories?

  5. Derek Scott says:

    I am targeting him in my auction draft as I am going to draft a very BALANCED team this year. I want to target only those guys that are projected to hit 20+ HR’s and steal 10+ bags this year. When your looking at SB, your options are very limited hear with Ian Kinsler, Chase Utley, and Brandon Phillips being the only three with those projections this year that I can think of.

    Of course those other three are better, but when balancing out my team, I might only be able to afford Beckham.

  6. Ryan says:

    good analysis of beckham. as a sox fan, i would be very happy with these numbers and they would show his development as a player. hitting .300 would not be impossible, however I see him coming a shade under that. his intangibles will make as huge a difference as his stats

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