Thornton has modified his slider, going back to a harder, true 88-91 mph slider as opposed to the slower, more curvy second pitch he used to throw. He got a big strikeout with it against Oakland’s David DeJesus,, but his bread-and-butter pitch is still a 96-97 mph fastball.”It has a late cut when it’s right,” Thornton said. “Just a touch of cut where I get jams and broken bats. Hitters see a fastball coming in and they’re geared up for a mid-90s fastball and it cuts at the end. It’s a pretty tough pitch to handle.”
May 23, 2011
May 20, 2011
[Gordon] Beckham gave every indication that he was ready for prime time. He hit the ground running with the White Sox in ’09, putting up a .351 Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) in 430 PA while earning the Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year Award. Just 22 years old at the time, Beckham looked like a franchise cornerstone and a needed first-round success story for an organization that had recently been criticized for taking low-upside players like Lance Broadway and Kyle McCulloch.
Since then, however, Beckham has been sliding backwards. His wOBA dipped to .305 in 2010, and he’s the owner of a sordid .262 wOBA so far this season for a Chicago team whose park-and-league adjusted offense is 12 percent below average. In late April, White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker told the Chicago Sun-Times, “[Beckham]‘s swinging at a lot of pitches out of the zone. He’s frustrated. He’s getting himself out a lot.”
Walker’s comments are spot-on. Beckham, described in Baseball America’s 2009 Prospect Handbook as possessing “unusual pitch recognition for a young hitter,” has devolved into one of the easiest outs in the majors. Take a look at Beckham’s outside swing percentages from 2009 to 2011, compared to the MLB averages during those years: …
UPDATE: Here’s Steve Stone’s take.
May 19, 2011
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen decided to give Omar Vizquel a start at second on Thursday, riding Vizquel’s six-game hitting streak, but didn’t seem to be too concerned about Beckham’s ongoing battle at the plate.”The only thing I worry about with Gordon, he strikes out a lot,” said Guillen.
Beckham’s 36 strikeouts in 143 at-bats were second on the team to Adam Dunn’s 49 strikeouts in 129 at-bats before Thursday’s game.
“He went through a lot of tough times last year and overcame it, came back and was the player we thought he was going to be,” Guillen continued. “But right now, he’s striking out quite a few times and that worries me. Besides that, nothing, nothing at all. That’s part of the game. Vizquel [is playing] because I need to use him, the way he’s swinging the bat.”
Other White Sox links: J.J. looks for the most memorable HR in Sox history while Brett Ballantini compiles a Top-10, and FutureSox thinks it might be time to move Sox pitching prospect Nevin Griffith to the bullpen.
May 5, 2011
The more reliable numbers this year are just as bad: his plate discipline is shot right now. That swinging strike rate is almost in a reliable sample. Contact percentage is in a reliable sample, and he’s showing his career-worst in that category (79.9% career, 76% this year). Since batters have been swinging at pitches outside the zone at different rates over the past year, we can normalize that category to see that Beckham has gotten worse there, too: He swung at pitches outside the zone at 98% of league average in 2009, 110% last year, and 124% this year. His contact on balls in the zone has dropped 6% down from league average in that category. …
Other White Sox links: JJ looks on A.J. Pierzynski’s struggles, and compares the 1992 White Sox to the Springfield Power Plant team (Simpsons), and FutureSox looks at Sox prospects in April and how Jared Mitchell is doing.
April 30, 2011
Gordon Beckham – Beckham had such a promising rookie year, but he has been a disappointment in 2010 and 2011. Two items really seem to be the cause of his struggles. First, he walk rate is at 4.1%, down from 9.5% just two years ago. Second, he has an IFFB% [Infield Fly Ball % (IFFB/FlyBall)] of 27.3%, second worst in the league behind Carlos Lee‘s 31.6%.
In other White Sox blogs, J.J. examines past Tuesday’s Phillip Humber start against the Yankee$ and the implications of the upcoming Tuesday’s Francisco Liriano start against the White Sox, and James asks ‘Are the White Sox unwatchable?’ and examines past Wednesday’s Bartolo Colon start against the White Sox.
April 27, 2011
According to Guillen, it’s [Gordon] Beckham‘s mannerisms that worry him.
“I’m concerned about his body language,” Guillen said. “Because I say that, I don’t worry about people making outs. As long as you get good at-bats and your body language is positive, then I can live with that. The only way you come out of it is playing. He’s going to play.
“It’s another test for this kid. Hopefully he handles it like he handled it last year.”
April 22, 2011
BTW, here are some BABIPs from statcorner:
Gordon Beckham: .237
Adam Dunn: .250
Brent Morel: .250
A.J. Pierzynski: .250
Alexei Ramirez: .241
Alex Rios: .213
Edwin Jackson: .342
Jesse Crain: .200
Will Ohman: .348
Chris Sale: .346
Sergio Santos: .250
Matt Thornton: .400
April 17, 2011
8th inning, nobody out, Juan Pierre at first, Gordon Beckham at the plate, Adam Dunn on deck. And Ozzie calls for a bunt. Why? Let Beckham swing. Don’t give free outs to the other team. According to Tango’s Run Expectancy Matrix (1993-2010) the run expectancy with a man on 1st and no outs is 0.941 runs. If the bunt is successful and the runner moves to 2nd the run expectancy DROPS to 0.721. Why bother with the bunt? Why take the bat out of Beckham’s hands?
I see Mike shares my frustration. I wish I could do what James says and try to forget the whole thing!
April 15, 2011
I stumbled onto Chicago Tribune Live and my brain nearly exploded. They were discussing trading Gordon Beckham and Chris Sale for Carlos Marmol. WTF? This is the dumbest baseball trade proposal I’ve heard of. If someone tells this to Kenny, Kenny shouldn’t speak to him ever again. And one of the “experts” was in favor of it! Clearly, a Cubs fan.
There should be a law against putting things like this on TV.
April 11, 2011
“To be honest with you, we haven’t tinkered a lot,” said Walker. “He had a little lay off with the bat. When he put the foot down, he got the bat more horizontal and kind of got loopy with it a little bit. That was a minor thing. Short of that, the kid is really talented and he’s really good and he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.
April 10, 2011
Gordon Beckham started 2011 well, hitting .308 through the first six games of the season, up from .260 during the first two years of his career. In those first 234 games, Beckham established a pattern of hot hitting in the upper outside corner and the lower inside corner: …
Pitcher are working low and away, but not up and in. So why is Gordon hitting better? He’s going after those low, outside pitches. …
UPDATE: Today’s HR was on a pitch on the lower outside corner too:
Keep going there guys!
April 2, 2011
The White Sox slugger can’t stop his penchant for shutting down when a baserunner attempts a steal.”One hundred percent of the time I won’t swing because my eyes go straight to the runner,” Dunn said Saturday. “It’s just a bad habit I got into.”
If Dunn knows the runner is going, he said he’s not affected. Gordon Beckham was running when Dunn homered on a 3-2 pitch on Opening Day. Dunn knew he was going, so he wasn’t distracted. Juan Pierre, who stole 68 bases last season, has a green light to go on his own.
“I’ve played with some pretty good base stealers and all I asked them was just don’t run with two strikes – please – because I probably won’t swing,” said Dunn, who has hit 355 career home runs. …
April 1, 2011
Adam Dunn’s first home run in a Chicago White Sox uniform was a majestic blast for everybody except teammate Gordon Beckham. Dunn had four RBIs and a homer in his White Sox debut.
“It went so high I didn’t know where it went; I was stealing on the play,” Beckham said. “He’s a force. You don’t want people to get on in front of Adam Dunn because he can go deep any time and under any conditions. It’s good to have him. He puts fear in opposing team and that is invaluable.”
March 21, 2011
For most players, arbitration eligibility is their first shot at a million-dollar salary. Let’s go around the diamond and look at the potential notable first-timers for 2012. I’ve included some potential Super Twos, based on the possibility of the cutoff being in the range of two years and 120 days.
… Second Basemen
Gordon Beckham of the White Sox might be the most interesting name here, if service time of 2.123 results in Super Two status.
Q: When does a player become eligible for salary arbitration?
A: A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. In addition, a player can be classified as a “Super Two” and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.
February 28, 2011
The White Sox’s first spring training game of the year started off perfectly. After Juan Pierre walked, Gordon Beckham laced a single to put runners on first and second with nobody out and Adam Dunn coming up.
And then Pierre and Beckham took off running. Pierre was thrown out at third, and Clayton Kershaw struck out both Dunn and Konerko to end the inning.
The result isn’t what I’m concerned about. The execution isn’t what I’m concerned about. It’s the idea. …
Guillen did say that he would prefer to avoid a repeat of the Sox first inning when Juan Pierre was thrown out at third with no outs and Adam Dunn at the plate. Guillen admitted he told guys he wanted to be aggressive in spring training, but maybe not that aggressive.
“I hope he doesn’t do this during the season,” Guillen offered. “I hope it’s a spring training thing.”