Gordon Beckham is the most intriguing player on the Chicago White Sox roster. At any point in time, the former first-round draft pick appears like an All-Star caliber player both at the plate and in the field. His hands at second scream for someone to give him his first Gold Glove of his career. When he is seeing the ball well, Beckham transforms into a catalyst that pumps life into the Sox offense wherever he is placed in the lineup. Unfortunately for the Sox, these flashes of brilliance have been sporadic throughout his six years in the majors, with a majority of the his career being filled with underachieving performance.
After being out with an oblique injury to start the 2014 season, Beckham is off to a blistering start after putting together another string of impressive offensive performances. His .276 average is well over his uninspiring .250 career mark. Moving his hands even further down when he is at-bat has allowed Beckham to get around on pitches all over the plate. Being able to create faster bat speed has allowed the second baseman to hit to all fields with regularity through 26 games this season, something he has not displayed in the past.
So is Beckham finally over the hump? Still at a relatively young age of 27, can Beckham be the best long-term second baseman the Sox have had since Ray “Sugar man” Durham? With only an inconsequential sample size so far this season, quite frankly it is just too early to tell. There is no telling if something could go wrong that is or is not in Beckham’s control.
Beckham has a track record for doing too much at the plate and sustaining injuries, which is what has ended almost all of his hot streaks in the past. Whether it be that he places too much pressure on himself or another factor, Beckham begins to make mechanical mistakes, tampering with adjustments that have led to his success.
Countless times Beckham has resorted back to moving his hands too low or too high. Other times he loads too early while in other instances his stride is to long towards the pitcher which leads to him being off-balance. He has shown that when his mechanics are right, though, there is no telling what he could do at the plate.
New White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson has exhibited a knack for getting the most out of the hitters he is in charge of. His ability to communicate with the likes of Tyler Flowers, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo along with Beckham has allowed each player to make the necessary adjustments that have led to all of them having the best starts to a season in their careers. It is difficult to actually measure how much of a difference a hitting coach makes, but Steverson might be the right voice to make sure Beckham consistently puts into practice the lessons he has learned.
Over the years Beckham has proven that he could make countless All-Star teams but injuries as well as hitting inconsistencies have gotten in the way. While the second baseman is in the midst of another scorching streak at the plate, there is no telling when it will expire. If he continues to maintain the adjustments he has made, the White Sox do not need to try to look to one of their minor league options to be their second baseman of the future. Their solution might have been here all along.