Dreamin’ on Tim Beckham

Can we talk about Tim Beckham for a minute?

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 29: Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts after striking out in the sixth inning of a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 29, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Rays 5-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Back on June 5th, 2008, in a galaxy far, far away, well before COVID-19 and shortly before the White Sox last AL Central crown, Tim Beckham was selected #1 overall in the MLB Rule 4 Amateur draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. Below is a short list of that draft class. About 40 minutes after Tim Beckham was selected the White Sox selected their own Beckham (whom we shan’t talk more about in this blog).

table cut from Wikipedia, which MSS donated $3.16 to back in 2019

Beckham, Tim that is, was drafted with much fanfare and joined an already loaded Rays farm system. As he began his career working his way up the developmental path, he ran into some struggles. In this 2013 article by Bleacher Reports Adam Wells, you can see what happens when you “Trust the Prospects”. Whether it be underperformance, physical limitations or extracurriculars, SHIT HAPPENS!! Both career and life don’t always go as planned.

Since 2013, Beckham has had himself a half a career. Spanning 3 teams, another substance abuse related suspension and about as eventful 2020 as most of yous.

Given Bob’s recent track record, kinda wondering if this is actually true.

Beckham’s fairly sporadic playing career has actually been reasonably adequate given the circumstances. Below is a table of his offensive output for a career from Baseball-Reference.

Beckham’s OPS+ of 98 compares favorably to about a league median starting shortstop at the plate. However, the 31 year old, who most recently played some shortstop in 2019 (his age 29 season) isn’t looked upon as favorably in the field by UZR (a defensive metric) as some of the other shortstops. UZR does however like his recent work at the hot corner. As a compliment to this White Sox roster that really needs a Moncada caddie, he seems to fit quite well.

Remember not too far in the recent off-season when this was a common battle cry??

The thesis was you needed a back up 3b / 2b type player that could hit RHP to round out this roster. I agree. I was just never that hot and heavy on La Stella. Could Beckham fit this role at a fraction of the cost and guaranteed playing time??

Career OPS vs RHP

La Stella .766

Beckham .722

I’m aware, Tommy La Stella turned into Wade Boggs (not the beers, chicken or sex addiction) or some shit in the last couple of years. There is no doubt he’s a better hitter in recent seasons. Hopefully for his sake, (since he’s in the Bay Area now) that continues. Juxtaposing that with Beckham sitting on his couch in 2020, it’s easy to get horny for one player and not the other.

La Stella looks like a fucking serial killer, so I am glad he’s on the West Coast, far, far away

My point is that Beckham as a guy with fairly neutral splits might be an even better bench player for this roster. Certainly as a guy to give Yoan Moncada a day off (or a week off, White Sox fans know) or even Tim Anderson a little time, (because not only does TA get dinged up, but his understudy Leury Garcia is no stranger to the trainers table) he might be a great 85% option at a fraction of the cost.

Oh and all of this is before we figure out if there is some trick the White Sox can use to turn him into a true ass kicker. That’s all the rage in baseball these days. We were saying “Coop will fix’em” before it was cool. Now all the teams got a version of this across all players. Here’s ours.

This is Hitting Coach Frank Menechino, he already looks like he’s displeased with our underwhelming performance. SORRY FRANK, WE ARE TRYING!!!

So I did what any blogger who wants to be baseball Columbo would do, I went to Baseball Savant. In general, I found an averagish hitter with averagish hitter profile, then I noticed this.

Table from Baseball Savant

Seems like we might have a Pedro Cerrano type situation here. We might not even need old Frank Menechino to help. Maybe we call Todd Steverson, he seemed to help TA go from a guy who swings at everything and isn’t that good to a guy that swings at everything and is a fucking world beater. OR, we do this simple solution.

Regardless, I am (probably irrationally) excited about the potential for Tim Beckham being a real contributor to the 2021 White Sox. When the signing was made I had to push off writing this blog. I didn’t want to get to February and see that he’d been Emilio Vargas‘d into the ether. Here we are though and I really see him having a legit shot to not only make this roster, but to contribute. Rick Hahn is FUCKING DUE to hit on a low end, unheralded signing. HOW ABOUT THIS ONE??

-BeefLoaf

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