David Beckham will never be out of the headlines, even more so now that in-game fan interactions are a part of his North American circus act. Let's face it, as long as he is in the United States, he will always be THE Beckham that is talked about
So where does that leave a baseball player on the rise with the same last name?
Right where he wants to be if you ask him. GORDON Beckham (a shortstop that has switched to third base) has been waiting for his chance at the highest level ever since he was selected with the eighth overall pick by the Chicago White Sox in the 2008 draft. Courtesy of his overflowing talent, the wait has only been a bit longer than a year.
Through 46 games, Beckham has managed a .295 BA/ 5HR/ 27RBI/ 23R/ 4SB. For comparison's sake, Derek Jeter, the starter for the American League at short-stop put up numbers of .306/ 7HR/ 25RBI/ 31R/ 10SB this season. Now Derek Jeter is Derek Jeter, but those numbers are fairly similar, especially when considering the fact that I'm matching up an established veteran superstar with an up-and-coming rookie.
Numbers don't lie, but they don't tell the whole story either. So what truly makes Gordon Beckham special?
For one, he has the tools that can't be taught. Good speed, a great athletic frame (6'0'/ 180lbs) that once filled out, could see him become quite the power hitter. He has a great understanding of the game which allows him to make difficult plays look routine. Most importantly at the major league level, he's got a good head on his shoulders. This is supported by the fact that he was the SEC Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
As for the things that can be taught, only time will tell since things are going so well for the unanimous pick for SEC Player of the Year. His true test will be when pitchers make adjustments and he'll be forced into adjustments of his own.
So far his biggest weakness has been living up to ChiSox fans' expectations at his home ground. He's hitting a miserly .213, with no home runs and 6 RBI in 23 games as opposed to a tremendous .370 BA, with 5 home runs and 21 RBI in the same number of games on the road. He's also still in transition from being an everyday shortstop at the minor league level to an everyday third baseman with the big boys.
Clearly the table has been set for Gordon Beckham to take that next step. The odds are he will, and don't be surprised if he makes an Evan Longoria type of impression in his first full season next year!