I was going to take this off-day to write a glowing piece about Gordon Beckham. He hasn't really been the sole focus of anything I've written since writing that he would be "fine" during his second week in the majors. Since then, almost as if he'd been given permission, Beckham has smoked (or is it Smoaked?) the ball. But there have been plenty of Beckham is dreamy articles written by the traditional media in the past week. Instead, I'll just dream a little bit on his current production.
Entering the year, I was really interested to see what Beckham would do this year in the minors, not expecting anything more than a September call-up. I was pretty sure he wasn't going to slug 25+ homers as he had in his junior season. But I wanted to know what type of hitter he would become; a patient slap-hitter, a gap-power threat, a doubles machine?
Gordon Beckham's 2009
I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by his minor league walk-rate, though that disappointment was more than offset by his minor league doubles rate. He was leading all the minors in two-baggers when he hit the DL for a bit, and was one back (?) when he got the call to the Sox. And he hasn't stopped hitting them since arriving in the bigs, though he has slowed some.
Adding his minor league numbers to those amassed with the White Sox, numbers which are strikingly similar, by the way, Beckham has already reached 40 doubles in less than 400 at-bats. It's not hard to imagine him hitting another 10, 15, or even 20 to give him (well) over 50 for his season. And when you start talking about a 22 year old who may hit 50 doubles while spending most of his season in the majors, well, you can start to dream a little bit.
Now let me list some rather large caveats before I dive into the next couple paragraphs and the accompanying table. Beckham has yet to actually hit 50 doubles, and nearly half of those will have been accumulated in the minors. I acknowledge that this somewhat random stat -- a triviality, really -- is probably going to be wildly misinterpreted, that it's probably way too early to be doing something like this, but it's better than writing something like the Sox need to move Beckham while they can still get value from him.
By displaying this list, I am in no way implying that Beckham is a good as the players listed. I'm merely pointing out that were Beckham to continue the production we've seen from him this year throughout the full '10 season -- and that's a big if. Lots of things can happen, after all -- he would put himself in some very elite company, head in the clouds elite.
Now that that's out of the way. Here's the list of all the players in the modern era (since 1900) to have 50 doubles in a season at age 23 or younger. The entire list.
Young Doubles Hitters
Now you see why I issued the rambling disclaimer. That's an exclusive list that includes an amazing amount of baseball talent.
So yeah, a Sox fan can dream.