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CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox have announced that prior to tomorrow’s game vs. the Oakland A’s they will purchase the contract of infielder Gordon Beckham from Class AAA Charlotte and designate infielder Wilson Betemit for assignment.
He will be starting, too, after going 3-for-5 with two doubles in his last night with Charlotte, while the law firm of Cahill, Mazzaro & Outman finalized the paperwork for their injunction against the White Sox offense.
While Kenny Williams is attempting to give his team a swift kick in the butt, it’s not a desparate maneuver. Any fears should be calmed by looking at his Charlotte career:
That’s not to say he’s here to stay. He could very well join the Robin Ventura Rookie Year Re-Enactment Society, find himself back on the Knights in July and not appear back in Chicago until September.
However, until it’s proven that major-league pitching overwhelms him, every at-bat in Charlotte is a wasted one. Now, there are three questions:
No. 1: What should we expect?
Minorleaguesplits.com sets Beckham’s MLE at .273/.312/.438, which sounds about right OPS-wise. I’d probably knock about 25 points off the slugging and add 20 points to the OBP, but having zero walks at Charlote probably suppresses that projection a bit.
I think he’s going to be shaky at third, maybe equivalent to Josh Fields in the early going. He should have a little more range, but inspire less confidence on routine plays.
What I’m hoping to see is an abundance of line drives, which amounted to roughly a quarter of Beckham’s batted balls. Right now, the White Sox have the fourth-lowest line-drive rate in baseball, and their performance over the last two nights illustrates that problem. Just to scare you, they finished fourth-worst in 2007 as well.
The Sox are aware of this problem, which is why every spring they trot out lines like “getting back to basics” and “playing more smallball.”
Unfortunately, they compound the problem by getting guys who can only hit the ball on the ground.
Beckham is the kind of guy who can help usher in a genuine culture change, and not a flimsy, fake one. Unless he’s an uncannily quick study, I’m just hoping to see a few glimpses of that potential at this point. It won’t be the end of the world if he flops, so I’m going to focus on signs.
No. 2: What will happen to Josh Fields?
He’s going to move across the diamond and start an apprenticeship under Paul Konerko. With the Sox designating Wilson Betemit, they have no backup first basemen.
Hey, he should be better there than Timo Perez.
No. 3: Which 1990s Saturday Night Live cast member will Beckham’s career most closely represent?
Without a doubt, this is the issue Beckham is most concerned with. Some options:
- Will Ferrell: A scene-stealer.
- Phil Hartman: Polished in every way, and performance doesn’t seem to age.
- Tim Meadows: Solid complementary player, never takes anything off the table but leaves you feeling like he could do more.
- Chris Rock: The talent is there, but it doesn’t emerge with the Sox.
- Norm McDonald: Good, but limited, and disliked by management, which rips him after he leaves.
- Mark McKinney: Great resume on smaller stage, but never found a fit in the majors.
- Rob Schneider: Interesting for a year, then nothing.
- Chris Elliott: Completely forgettable.
I’m open to other suggestions if you have ’em. And there’s a fourth question for me:
No. 4: Jim, aren’t you going to make fun of Wilson Betemit? C’monnnn, he was … he was just awful.
Yes, but wait for the noontime post.
Minor league Bon Voyage Beckham party:
- Columbus 6, Charlotte 4
- Josh Kroeger went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.
- Daryl Ward had two hits, including a double.
- Justin Cassel resumed struggling, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits
and two walks over 4 1/3 innings, striking out three.
- Randy Williams (2 2/3 IP) and Ehren Wassermann (2 IP) didn’t allow a hit.
- Huntsville 3, Birmingham 1
- John Shelby had two of the Barons’ three hits, including a double.
- Dayan Viciedo had the other one.
- Kyle McCulloch pitched well in defeat, allowing two runs over seven innings, scattering five hits and a walk with three K’s.
- Jhonny Nunez allowed a solo homer and walked two batters in an inning of work.
- Kannapolis 7, West Virginia 6
- Justin Greene went 2-for-3 with a walk, and also stole his fifth base.
- Jon Gilmore drove in two with a double.
- Gregory Infante posted nice peripherals: eight strikeouts, no walks, eight hits
over seven innings. He did allow five runs, one unearned.
- The Intimidators committed four errors, and have 10 over their last two games.
- Winston-Salem vs. Myrtle Beach PPD