No. 24: 2B Gordon Beckham, Chicago (AL) (Age 23; Total projected WAR: 22.04; WAR Years 1-5: 4.0, 4.3, 4.5, 4.6, 4.6)
Beckham was expected to emerge this season as the new cornerstone of the White Sox, but instead he’s struggled so badly that there have been calls to return him to Triple-A to work things out. After putting up 2.2 WAR in 103 games last season with Chicago, he came into this season as the team’s everyday second baseman. But he’s promptly been one of the worst players in baseball, his -0.6 WAR is the second-worst in the AL, better only than White Sox teammate (and former Sox cornerstone) Carlos Quentin.
But it’s only been a quarter of the season, and before this year Beckham had an awfully long track record of success going back to his days as the star shortstop at the University of Georgia. Our projections have Beckham as a roughly average defender at second base while showing some offensive improvement in Year 1, with a +16.5 RAA.
While his defense would decline over the years, it should only cost him a few runs in terms of value, which his offensive improvement more than makes up for. These projections probably look awfully bullish now given how bad Beckham has looked this season, but Beckham still looks like one of the best young infielders in the game.
June 3, 2010
Gordon Beckham is #24 of BTB’s Next 5 years Top-50
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