March 28, 2010

Player Snapshot: Gordon Beckham

In a standard 12-team roto draft, with only one catcher, there are two positions that I would consider truly scarce, and both reside in the infield: 2B and 3B. Many would argue that shortstop is another position with a small talent pool, but with quality young players like the Escobars (Yunel and Alcides) and speedsters like Elvis Andrus and Everth Cabrera, I don't mind waiting a bit before picking a SS. But I digress. Back to the other two lineup spots. As the draft progresses and it starts to get down to the nitty-gritty, real question marks start to pop up about players at these two spots. Thats why securing studs at these positions will cost you. But what if, by some miracle, there was a quality player who could fill both of these postions, in case your stud gets injured and you need a replacement? What if there was a guy that could play 4 positions, if your league has CI and MI spots, is only 23 and has shown tremendous signs of being a major league star? Well that would sure be nice, but Ben where could I ever find a deal this good? Well he is sitting in the South side of Chicago, just waiting to be snatched up in the 8th round of average fantasy drafts.

After being selected with the 8th pick in the 2008 draft, Beckham shot through the ranks, spending only 7 games in AAA in 2009 before being called up to "the show". Over the 103 games he got to play last year, he put up very respectable numbers for a rookie, and even contended for ROY honors. Had he played the whole season at the same rate, Beckham's numbers would have probably come out looking something like this: 91/22/99/.270/11. Those are quality for an outfielder, let alone a guy who played 3rd base. Now, here's the kicker, while maintaining his 3B eligibility from last year, the White Sox will move him to second to start the season, letting fantasy owners move him there or to the MI spot after whatever amount of games your league requires. That is the key to Beck's value this year. You can now get corner infielder-type power numbers from a middle infielder and open up your CI spot for another slugging first baseman. As long as you can secure some steals at one of the other MI slots and a few of your outfielders, Beckham can be a real driving force for any team, as he produces quality power numbers from a position where it is rare.

While I think Gordon is going for a fair value in the late 80s, I am in love with his combination of position eligibility (as if you couldn't tell). When a good portion of leagues only allow weekly lineup changes, having someone who can jump around when another guy has a bad week of matchups, or a small amount of games, really pays off. Gordon Beckham is a very useful player, with a very high ceiling. He can be a quality player on any team, and who doesn't want that.