Gordon Beckham has turned a corner, really, it says so right here. He is at peace with himself and feels like he belongs with the major league team. He is even hanging out with Paul Konerko. If that isn’t a sign of better things to come, I don’t know what is. I’m not particularly sure why, but the Chicago media really seems to want Gordon Beckham to succeed. The criticism of him is fairly tame, maybe it’s the magnificent hair. So we get articles like the one from last Sunday, very little to do with what is wrong but a lot about things that can’t be measured, almost insisting that he will be better in 2013.
The last few seasons, the discussion of Beckham focused on how he has a couple of bad months, but a couple of good months so it really isn’t that bad. He alludes to the fact, yes his batting average is down, but his production was improved. As Beckham, says “batting average is an easy stat.” Fine. How about OBP? In 2012 he remained the same as 2011, a pitiful .296. True to his word, production as seen through slugging did go up quite a bit in 2012 to .371. In a vacuum of the White Sox that was ok; compared to the rest of the league, not so much. Beckham was the sixth (AL) and sixteenth (MLB) second baseman in slugging percentage for 2012. It could be worse, but to hang one’s hat on that upsurge is making a bit much from too little. For 2013 the outlook is more of the same, .246/.314/.398 though another bump in power. If Beckham arrives at those numbers the same way he has the past two seasons, expect more griping from White Sox fans.
The other aspect of Beckham’s game that gets a lot of love is his defense. In the Trib piece the term Gold Glove is mentioned and Konerko wonders aloud how many games Beckham saved in 2012 with his glove. Much like the improved power that Beckham showed in 2012, his fielding is ok, but according to the numbers not exceptional. By some measures Beckham is above average, like fielding percentage and double plays turned. His runs above average, however, took a bit of a dive from 2011 (5) to 2012 (0). He also had a -6 for runs saved last year. For comparison, Robbie Cano had a +15. For even more comparison and to muddle the picture a bit, Beckham was fifth in innings played and had the third best runs saved number in that small yet illustrative grouping, and Cano is a god. After all that what I can honestly say about Beckham is that he is a decent fielder, very effective on the double play, but his bat will likely be a regular out with just enough flashes to drive one crazy.