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
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.