Beckham getting a break

After his worst game as a pro, Gordon Beckham is getting a couple of days off.
Which could mean that he’s staring today, given Ozzie Guillen’s track record this season.
There’s no doubt something is wrong with Beckham’s swing, but it shouldn’t be news.  His hands take a bigger loop, his swing becomes more uppercutty, and his head pulls off the ball.  He showed this tendency in college, and it was a surprise that it never really manifested itself during his minor-league days.
It did surface for a few weeks last season, so there’s plenty of evidence suggesting he’ll climb his way out of this.  I can’t see Beckham returning to the minors. but if that has to happen, you can effectively get this season a body bag.
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It’s early May, which means it’s time for Joe Cowley to talk about choirboys.

Maybe that’s why it’s hard for the South Side to wrap its arms around this group of players. Too many thinkers, not enough doers. Too many choirboys, not enough Carls.

If you don’t remember his story from last May:

Frankly, for the first time in the Ozzie Guillen era, the White Sox are a rather boring group — a swaggerless collection of mostly choirboys.

****************************
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*Bruce Levine says the White Sox are interesting in Lance Berkman.  He’s off to a slow start with the Astros since getting off the DL, but historically, he’d be the kind of hitter the Sox need — strong against righties with a good BABIP.  The Sox may be too far out of it to sacrifice the prospect haul that a guy of Berkman’s caliber would typically be worth.
*Alex Rios is feeling more comfortable, and gives Ozzie Guillen a strong endorsement.
*Scott Merkin profiles Andruw Jones and his successful first month.
****************************
Minor league roundup:

  • Charlotte 6, Pawtucket 3
    • Dayan Viciedo doubled, homered and drove in two.
    • Jordan Danks (two K’s) and C.J. Retherford (one) each went 0-for-4.
    • Tyler Flowers had a single in four at-bats.
    • Jeff Marquez pitched a quality start, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out four.
  • Birmingham 5, Mississippi 3
    • John Shelby homered, singled and walked. He also struck out once.
    • Brent Morel went 1-for-3 with an RBI, walk and strikeout.
    • Christian Marrero walked twice and struck out once in four PAs.
  • Frederick 5, Winston-Salem 4
    • Nathan Jones was decent: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
    • Dan Remenowsky pitched a scoreless innings, with a strikeout and a walk.
    • Eduardo Escobar and Brandon Short had two hits apiece.
  • Kannapolis 8, Lexington 6
    • Have a game, Brady Shoemaker: 4-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and four RBI.
    • Nick Ciolli went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
    • Kyle Colligan singled and struck out in five at-bats.
    • Miguel Gonzalez and Trayce Thompson each went 0-for-4 with a K.
    • Ryan Buch had his first truly tough outing, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk while just retiring one batter.
    • Joe Serafin met the bare minimum for a quality start.
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Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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talkendo

Huh. Haven’t been watching much lately (small child; Hawks playoffs), but that description of Beckham’s current swing sounds positively Fields-ian.

knoxfire30

Ha, it was classic yesterday during the telecast when Hawk was commenting about how Beckham was gonna snap out of it last night and how great a session he had with Greg Walker, I knew from the first inning on that meant Gordon was dead in the freaking water.
Here is all you need to know about Greg Walker and young talent.
Josh Fields, 1st round pick, good minor league track record good borderline great rookie season, horrendous year 2 and on.
Carlos Quentin, 1st round pick, good minor league track record, outstanding first full year, horrendous 2nd and so far 3rd seasons.
Alexei Ramirez, high end international talent, very solid rookie season, mediocre 2nd seasons, off to a terrible third season.
Gordon Beckham, 1st round pick, flew through minors, great rookie season, horrendous start to his 2nd year.
Greg Walker is like fucking cancer, this guy gets a hold of your young talent and it goes bad real damn quick.

bigfun

Knox, I’m not sure I see the pattern. Has there been some negative change in plate approach among all these players? Because they seem pretty different.
Ramirez got better in a lot of respects in his second year, not worse. He drew more walks and got on base more often, and swung less at pitches outside the strike zone. He lost some power, but his home run rate in 2008 was pretty high and probably wasn’t sustainable.
Fields is debatable but he had problems with strikeouts throughout the minors and was never a polished hitter; his rookie season was the fluke. Quentin was slowed by injuries, not any apparent coaching problem.
I don’t think Walker has done much to help many of these players, but what’s the evidence that he’s actually harming hitters?

soxfan1

A hitting coach has a minimal effect on any team. Fields and Ramirez are both fringe players. Neither one will ever make it big in the majors. Beckham will snap out of his slump on his own. Who was the Sox hitting coach in ’83, ’93, ’00 & ’05??? IT DOESN”T MATTER!! Talent is the key and our farm system has been horrendous for the most part.

knoxfire30

@big fun, alexei OPS in 2008 792, in 2009 722, in 2010 its in the 540’s (small sample size). How has he gotten better????? Fields fluked his way to 20 homers and 70 rbi in 2/3rds a season? I mean if he was the only guy to decline after his first year I may agree with that, but I named 4 guys in very recent years.
@soxfan1, its an ongoing debate among baseball people, but I do value a hitting coach and I do think they play a very important roll in a teams success. And my point on talent was that I listed THREE 1st round picks, none of which were viewed as a reach, and a highly sought after international player all who came in going good and are currently terrible. That has to have SOME relation to a hitting coach. It cant all be coinscidence. If at the end of the season CG, Alexei, and Beckham are below average how can that not be on a cocah?

bigfun

I actually mentioned it in my last post. He had better plate discipline.
You’re citing OPS, but that’s not a great stat to use. OPS overvalues power and undervalues plate discipline. So of course it looks like Ramirez got a lot worse. You need to take a closer look at the information.
I would like to see Walker replaced too, but Gordon Beckham facing a sophmore slump hardly proves that Walker is to blame. Did Walker mess up Quentin’s feet too? Must we also assume that Rios and Jones are better because of Walker? (Should I be asking these questions with five question marks?)

ricksch

I don’t really understand the Walker debate. When you pick up losers like Teahen and Pierre, what the hell do you think the hitting coach can do? With the rooks, well, maybe Walker isn’t so great. Then again, did Fields or Anderson succeed elsewhere? Can Walker stop Alexie from swinging at everything? Perhaps Walker could slip Quentin some Xanax to calm his ass down. Quentin’s flop is probably the most damanging aspect of this year’s offensive “attack”. Walker may be symptomatic of Ozzie’s Crony Clubhouse, where friends get jobs and people they actually might need go begging.
At any rate, we blow a great start by Danks and can’t get to freakin’ Dana Eveland? A few more weeks of this and it’s truly over.

phastphil

I don’t think sitting Beckham is the solution. Move him back in the line-up and make him work through it. Besides his replacements aren’t any better.

Shinons

Honestly if Beckham’s last name was Teahen, Pierre, or Rameriz, there’d be 30 comments a day on here to release him. He’s doing absolutely nothing to help the team right now – three strikeouts and two errors yesterday certainly was the pinnacle, but his average day this season hasn’t been too much better. Alexei’s at least playing decent defense, Teahen’s at least getting on base, Pierre’s at least turning things around (batting .421 with 6 steals in his last five games). Beckham hasn’t been able to do a goddamn thing, and it’s pretty obnoxious see all the bitching about those three but if Beckham sucks then it’s Walker’s fault.
I do think Beckham will turn it around and start knocking the doubles again, but he ought to be doing it in the 8 or 9 spot.

knoxfire30

Beckham doesnt have a full mlb season under his belt so obviously he is going to get more slack. Not to mention 95 percent of his draft class is still in the minors getting their fine tuning. Those are big factors as to why Beckham gets slack.

ricksch

Ditto to Knoxfire on this one. Teahen and Pierre are vets with an upside ceiling. Pierre is in decline and can’t play in the AL. TEAHEN IS A FREAKIN’ DISASTER and I hang that all on the arrogant dumb-ass Kenny Williams. Beckham was the rookie of the year (or close to it). Plus, what are we paying Beckham? Yeah, Beckham’s play this year has been horrible, but the Sox, in all their infinite wisdom, once again have put him at a new position to learn. Your best prospect in years and you jack him around the infield like this????? Sox needed to trade Alexie last offseason. He could have actually gotten you something in return and then you could put Beckham where he belongs, at short. Getz could have been a solid bench or platoon player.
When you read other (non-homer) baseball blogs and columns, folks make a pretty good case for Williams as the worst GM in baseball. I don’t think he’s the worst, but his decisions since the Sox decided to up their payroll have been mostly terrible. The farm teams are crap. I disagree with Knox that this doesn’t matter. You need to bring up a guy that sticks every year or every other year or you become too dependent on trades. Look at these shitheels they’ve been picking up lately to fill out the Minor leagues rosters. These guys are all castoffs from other teams or career Minor leaguers.
In short, why do so many of you insist on giving Kenny a pass? The poor decisions this offseason are all on him. ’05 was great but it was lightning in a bottle, with so many key guys having career years, illustrated best by a guy like Cliff Pollite? Remember him? The guy was a lights-out set-up man who never had another year that came remotely close to ’05.
I don’t think we need to fire Kenny now, but he should be put on final notice. They obviously need to get some decent scouts and shake up Ozzie’s Crony Clubhouse.
This team was just flat out horribly constructed and are, just like last year, painful to watch.

danks50

I’m still on the side that Kenny Williams has done more good for this team than bad. However his complete inability to develop almost any players through the draft is alarming. I obviously don’t have a problem with a GM that feels he wants to compete every year, but when your going around and picking up replacement level players from LA & KC its just simply not gonna get it done.
Besides Andruw who has so far been an absolute steal and the Putz signing which I really liked, his offseason has been a disaster. He lost a pretty huge chunk of my support when he went into opening day in a win now mode with Mark Kotsay batting 5th and Mark Teahen and his statuesque defense with an apparent stranglehold on the 3rd base job until 2013.

Shinons

The point I’m making is that it’s not any of those three’s fault that the roster is flawed. Pierre’s never going to play like a $10 million a year player, Teahen’s never going to play like a guy who deserves a 4 year extension, and we know what we have with Alexei by now. What’s the point in bitching about them if they’re coming at least close to filling their roles?
Beckham is what he is: a young player who’s going to have ups and downs. But the same logic applies to the rest of the roster if it applies to him. They are what they are, and there’s no sense in blaming them for their natural shortcomings.

ricksch

Oh, I guess your right Jim. Enjoying this shit team Kenny’s assembled at $103M? He did pick up Danks and Floyd a few years back. Nice deals. But as Homer Hawk always says, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

ricksch

Please don’t turn into a PR shill like Mark Gonzales.

bigfun

So Rick, are you saying that Omar Minaya, Ned Colletti, Dayton Moore, Ed Wade, and Brian Sabean have done better jobs? There’s a “good argument” for that?
Kenny Williams and his front office have done decently overall with some very strong and some very weak areas. I wouldn’t be heartbroken if he left, but I wouldn’t cheer for his departure unless I knew a brilliant candidate was in line to take his job.

marshlands

Agreed, Knox. Teahen and Pierre have no upside. Those guys should get shit on because they aren’t playing up to their full abilities, and even if they do, they aren’t that good. They need to play to their career averages to be worthwhile at all.
And I don’t think anyone on here has been calling for the release of Alexei. He sure has been hitting poorly, but he’s made up for it with solid defense. He doesn’t get the same treatment that Beckham does, though, because he doesn’t deserve it. Alexei is 28 this year, and his approach at the plate doesn’t seem to have much flexibility. I liked his obvious increase in patience last year, but it led to a lot of bad counts and weak swings (and big drop in power numbers).

fustercluck

It’s obvious Walk is not getting fired so long as he has a friend in Guillen. But Cowley’s talk about choirboys gives me an idea. What if we were to start some unfortunate rumors about Walker’s conduct, leaving the White Sox papacy little recourse but to relocate him to a minor league affiliate?
What say you, Greg “Glad Hands” Walker? Anything you’d like to confess?

ricksch

No Big Fun, First of all, I didn’t say Kenny was the worst GM in baseball. I do think he’s been pretty crappy the last couple of years and had better get some real help in evaluating talent at all levels.
Truth is, I always liked Kenny for trying to keep the team competitive. But I think we now know that patchwork approach is problematic on many levels.
We’re handcuffed with a high payroll that keeps us from getting players we could have used this year like Figgins or Damon. We have no decent options in the Minors. Unless you can spend like the Yankees or Red Sox, you need at least a DECENT farm system to keep your payroll in balance. The Sox farm system is lousy and other than Beckham, I can’t think of anyone they drafted and developed that has done anything significant for us in the last several years. Well, I guess million dollar bonus bust Borchard did get us Thornton.
One of the reasons why we have worthless breathers like Nix and Randy on our roster is that there is NO ONE on the farm to replace them, or with whom you’d be inclined to even take a flyer on. So how do you go into the year without a back-up plan or rest your entire left side of the bullpen on Matt Thornton? Guys do get hurt. And don’t tell me Threets went down. Has Threets pitched an inning of Major League baseball? Joe Nathan goes down, Mauer gets dinged up and misses a few games and Morneau gets hurt, but somehow the Twins plug in guys and keep kicking ass. Now that the Twins have a much fatter payroll, they are poised to eat our lunch for years to come. (So much for them only being good in the Metrodome.)
The Teahen acquisition and extension is simply unforgiveable and really made my head spin re: Kenny and his staff. They didn’t KNOW this guy was a hack 3rd baseman? They didn’t KNOW they had one of the worst defenses in baseball last year? Not only is Teahen a lackluster ballplayer, getting him forced the team to shift Beckham to yet another new position. Do you think it’s easy to learn a new spot at the Major League level? It’s no wonder Beckham’s struggling so terribly.
Kenny seems to fall in love with guys who always beat us, like Teahen. (Ironically, Teahen keeps beating us now that he’s ON our team.) or he gets guys that he or Ozzie used to know, like Pierre. Granted, the Jones move was nice and has worked out wonderfully so far, but it was rather fortunate that Andruw picked THIS year to rededicate himself to the game.
Again, I’m not calling for Kenny’s head. I just think that he should be on the hot seat and being a lap dog homer for Williams is “brainless”.

chisoxt

To some extent, I think that a big chunk of our enabling fan base (aka ‘Meatheads’) love the KW moves that involve getting a marquis player for prospects. I don’t know why this is, perhaps it’s because Sox fans are so attention starved they love the noteriety of the ‘big trade’ Perhaps it’s because for years, we suffered with Ron Schuller who rarely pulled the trigger on anything.
The reality is, Kenny’s better deals have centered around getting younger ‘under the radar’ players and not veterans. While Kenny has done very well when it come to picking up veterans off the scarp heap, I just wish that he would focus on staying away from the deals the net the Todd Ritchies, the Jim Thomes, and the Nick Swishers. Even the Peavy deal, given Peavy’s contract and our major deficiencies elsewhere made little sense to me at the time.

alwayssox

The trade for Pierre was also a head scratcher in terms of talent. I just can’t see giving up Ely.

blah

I think we can all agree, it doesn’t matter if your black or white, just so long as we’re all the same religion.

ricksch

OK Jim, first of all, my Danks and Floyd comment was silly. Just making the point that if you make 100 moves, chances are 50 of they are going to turn out positive.
I really didn’t like the “brainless” inference though. I didn’t think we got personal like that here. Again, I didn’t say Williams was the worst GM in baseball or the second or the third worst. But the frustration of watching the team this year, with several guys on the team who contribute nothing and shouldn’t be on a Major League roster, you start to wonder if this guy knows what he’s doing.
Teahen is simply inexplicable. I don’t know how you think he’s going to improve in the field. He’s been shitty his whole career. Even if he hits his career best, I don’t think that makes up for his bad defense, especially on a team with the most errors in the AL last year.
Tossing Beckham around the diamond like an old rosin bag is clearly not helping the kid’s development. Please explain why anyone in his right mind would do that to the best prospect we’ve had in several years? Maybe next year they’ll have him replace Jenks.
Of all those players you mentioned, Swish, Dotel, Liney and Cabrera — only Cabrera did his job with any consistency. Consistent with some of Kenny’s recent follies, Cabrera was forced out of his comfort zone of batting 2nd because of (and there’s a theme here) bad roster construction. And even though Cabrera did okay statwise, he turned out to be a clubhouse cancer. Kenny or someone didn’t do their homework — again.
So, where are the good moves since ’05? Beckham, Danks and Floyd and . . . ? Giving Anderson center field in ’06? Putting Colon in your starting rotation in ’09? (How can a guy that fat so easily disappear?)
When Williams fired the Sox main scout a few years ago, (can’t remember the scout’s name) he complained that Kenny was gutting the farm system. That has pretty much come true. That chicken has now come home to roost as I detailed above.
Anyhow, peace to you my fellow Sox fan. We both want this team to win, or at least compete. As Jenks loses tonight’s game, ruining a rare Kotsay homer and a nice start by Buerhle, I wonder why Ozzie didn’t go to Putz quickly in the 8th? Too late to second guess I suppose. Maybe Kotsay will hit another 2-run dinger in the bottom of the 9th.

blah

Thome, Vazquez (to an extent, he put up solid numbers during his career, though he wasn’t an ace), Alexi, Dotel (despite his homer proneness, he was really effective in the role he occupied in ’08), Pods (in ’09), Rios deal (in that nothing was given up), TCQ (’08 was worth the division title, Jones (so far)…
Can’t really hold against KW that there’s no room in the budget for big Free Agents when people don’t go to games… though this and last years products left a lot to be desired…
And I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but when Jim said
“There isn’t a “pretty good” case that Williams is the worst GM in baseball. Any case that calls Williams the worst GM in baseball is certifiably brainless by default.”
I think Jim was saying that the alleged “case” was brainless.

ricksch

Didn’t Dotel lead the universe in letting inherited runners score? And all for a measly $11m for two years. Budget gets bloated real quick when you overpay for guys like that.
Vazquez? Give me a break. Any game that counted, Javy was gone fishin’.
Thome put up good numbers but I took that as a given that he would produce. Still, that wasn’t exactly a great move when you consider that until we took on Rios, we were in the centerfield wilderness after giving up Rowand.
Alexie was exciting and oh so promising in his rookie season, but turns out he’s an average SS prone to braincramps with a terrible OBS.
Quentin, having one tremendous year until his self-immoliated. Now we’re paying $3m+ for a guy hitting .180 who’s a crappy fielder. Besides, you can’t say Chris Young won’t end up having a better career.
Pods did well for us last year. I’ll give you that. But why didn’t they re-sign him for a lousy $1.75m? Seems there’s a bad move inside even the good moves.

blah

Javy still put the team in a position to win in many of those games and ate up innings. Being an average starter has significant value.
I would take Thome over Rowand any day of the week.
I wouldn’t have signed Pods either with his injury history.
Chris young sucks. Look at his career thus far. Plus Chris Young was used in the Javy trade.
The fact of the matter is KW is a pretty good GM. Almost 0 of the prospects he has traded away amounted to anything. Look at the Freddy Garcia deal, the Colon deal, the Thome deal. If there was anything to complain about it would be the 2 Swisher trades and the Foulke for Koch trade.
The White Sox have won more division titles and WS with KW at the helm than anyother GM. So yeah I think he gets the benefit of the doubt.

ricksch

Please get your facts straight blah. Young was traded for Quentin. And if Young sucks with a .296 AVG and 24 RBIs this year, where does that leave Mr. Intensity, Quentin?
My point there was let’s see how this trade shapes up a few years down the road. Quentin had one good year and he was great in ’08, but then the idiot hurt himself and we ended up getting bitch-slapped by the Rays in the playoffs.
Vazquez wasn’t acquired to be an innings-eater. He was paid in excess of $11m and was supposed to be near the top of the rotation.
I wasn’t comparing Thome to Roward. The point was that while Thome produced as expected, we were left with a black hole in center until they picked up Rios last year.
I was never a Pods Lover but he’s been healthy so far this year and who in the hell wouldn’t rather have him than Pierre leading off at the moment? Plus, Pods got a one year deal while we’re on the hook with Pierre for two.
The fact that Williams has won more division titles than any other Sox GM — if that’s actually true I’m not sure but let’s say it is — only speaks to the fact that this was a dogshit organization for decades.
You convientily ignore Teahen, Randy Williams, Todd Ritchie and a host of other lame moves Kenny made.
You should be working in PR or for the Government as you have a real talent for bending and skewing the facts.

ricksch

sorry, my bad on the young for quentin/javy call.

blah

Then be a cubs fan ricksch. If you want to set arbitrary standards for each deal KW has made that’s your prerogative. Not everyone he trades for is going to work out. I’m just saying while KW isn’t the best GM in baseball, he is better than most and his success speaks to it.
And next time you call me out, do a bit of your own fact checking.

blah

Oh and one more thing, Javy was the 5th starter in ’06. There are numerous articles speaking to it and the D-Backs sent a good chunk of money over as well.

blah

One thing I do hate more than anything else this year is that we sacrificed OBP and slugging for speed… to score all our runs via homers. I would kill for some “basecloggers” now

ricksch

Tonight’s game felt like three losses instead of just one.

soxfan1

Jenks is worn out. His performance has dropped steadily from year to year. Last nite the radio guys said he was throing 92-97 mph. Must have been a broken gun!! Putz is beginning to remind me of Linebrink. Anyone else??

ricksch

Jenks is deteriorating and can’t be relied upon. Of course, some stat-minded yob is going to say he saved 5 of 5 chances this year. But it’s obvious this guy is no longer a “closer” in the true sense of the word. The Sox can’t pay $7.5m for this sort of mediocrity. Thornton does, on the other hand, pitch like a closer. But because the Sox don’t have a decent lefty in the entire organization, next in line is Putz, who has already blown two key games in limited innings. It’s a sad mess.