One year ago, shortstop Gordon Beckham was busy leading the Georgia Bulldogs on a run to the College World Series finals. He had set a school record with 28 home runs, which also tied for the NCAA Division I lead. For those reasons, and others, the White Sox made Beckham the eighth overall pick in the ’08 draft.
Following a White Sox loss last night, the organization announced that it was calling up Beckham from Triple-A Charlotte to help contribute to a struggling offense and, in the words of manager Ozzie Guillen, "be in the lineup every day and get a good percentage of at-bats."
The 22-year-old Beckham’s stay in the minor leagues was a brief one. This season, he batted .330/.381/.528 with four home runs and a minor league-leading 23 doubles in 176 at-bats, mostly with Double-A Birmingham. He spent about a week with Charlotte prior to his callup, but that was more than enough time for Knights manager Chris Chambliss to form a positive impression.
"He’s a very talented young man," Chambliss said. "He’s someone who just has a lot of fun on field.
"All he needs to do is just play baseball. I’ve seen him at different levels and he’s a very mature, very relaxed, very confident young man. And when you’ve got maturity like that, you can move very quickly.
"He understands he has to work hard—and he does work hard every day."
While it’s been established that Beckham can hit, his defensive home has yet to be fully determined. He’s not a classic shortstop defender, but he got the job done there at Birmingham. At Charlotte, though, he concentrated most of his effort at third base, and he played mostly second base in last year’s Arizona Fall League.
"He can play anywhere," Chambliss said. "He’s got good hands, good instincts—it doesn’t matter where you play him."
And with what little production the White Sox are getting from their regulars at second base (Chris Getz, .616 OPS), third base (Josh Fields, .640 OPS) and shortstop (Alexei Ramirez, .625 OPS), Beckham may seen plenty of time at all three spots.
|GORDON BECKHAM • PERFORMANCE RECORD, 2008-09|
|2008||U. of Georgia||NCAA||SEC||71||340||.411||.519||.804||28||22||54||30|
Notable Night For Callups
At about the same time Beckham was receiving news of his promotion to the big leagues, two National League clubs also called up their top Triple-A prospects. The Braves summoned righthander Tommy Hanson from Gwinnett (simultaneously releasing veteran Tom Glavine), while the Pirates traded their regular center fielder, Nate McLouth, only to call up Andrew McCutchen from Indianapolis.
The International League’s strikeout leader, Hanson went 3-3, 1.49 through 11 starts, with 90 strikeouts, 17 walks and five home runs allowed in 66 1/3 innings. McCutchen batted .303/.361/.493 with four home runs and 10 doubles in 201 at-bats. He leaves the IL as its leader in runs scored (41) and triples (eight). Hanson and McCutchen were just two recent callups that have drained the IL of prospects, following as they do last week’s promotions of the Orioles’ Matt Wieters (Norfolk), the Rays’ David Price (Durham) and the Mets’ Fernando Martinez (Buffalo).
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