Results tagged ‘ Gordon Beckham ’

They are what their record says they are

20-GAME WATCH: YANKEES VS. WHITE SOX
              W-L  RS/G  RA/G  AVG  OBP  SLG  AB/HR  SB  CS   HR/9  BB/9  K/9
Yankees    14-6    5.6    4.4    .291    .375    .484    25    10    7    1.0    3.1    7.1
White Sox    9-11    4.8    5.0    .261   .328    .423    27    11    3    1.0    3.6    7.1

carlos_250.jpgThe White Sox are a .500 team. This is entirely appropriate. They have an above-average pitching staff and a below-average offense, and the combination of the two allows them to break even. The Yankees have the misfortune to catch them just as the White Sox have received what should be a boost to their offense thanks to the return of last season’s almost-MVP Carlos Quentin from a long stay on the disabled list. Quentin has all of six hits in ten games since coming back, but he did hit a home run in his most recent game.

The Yankees also get their first look at rookie third baseman Gordon Beckham, the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft. After just holding his own in his first month in the bigs, Beckham has turned it on in July, batting .337/.396/.539 this month. Interestingly, he’s struggled badly at home, hitting only .213 with no home runs in Chicago. His road production, .382/.451/.640, has been monstrous. He’s currently playing third base because that’s where the Sox needed him, but he could play second or even shortstop in the future… On the whole, the White Sox are an impatient club with some power thanks to the usual producers, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, and Paul Konerko. That core is rapidly aging, and the Sox are going to find themselves in a difficult transitional (read: losing) phase if they can’t find more youthful company for Beckham.

One possibility is catcher Tyler Flowers, who was picked up from the Braves over the winter for Javier Vazquez. He batted .302/.445/.548 at Double-A Birmingham before being moved up to Triple-A a little over a week ago. He’s not supposed to be a great defender, and A.J. Pierzynski is in his way, but if the White Sox are smart they’ll look at Pierzynski as just another thirtysomething who has to be moved–because he’s impatient, Pierzynski can be at his offensive best and not contribute that much. He’s having one of the best years of his career this season at .304/.330/.454, but that league-average OBP holds him back.

As the Yankees have four games with the White Sox, they not only get to send out their laundry, but also get to see the entire White Sox rotation with the exception of old pal Jose Contreras, who is currently leading the league in losses. Gavin Floyd has been an interesting case this year. His career-making turn last season came in part through crazy good luck on balls in play, and as many predicted, he’s had less fortune in that area, though he’s still getting some above-average returns–instead of .250, he’s around .280, still better than your average cat. He was hit very hard in April and May before suddenly becoming unhittable in June, putting up a 1.28 ERA in six starts. July has been more of a mixed bag.   

I have a suspicion the Yankees will do pretty well with 25-year-old Clayton Richard, a lefty who has just average stuff and control and has gotten by mostly by trying to make perfect pitches and being tough on left-handed hitters. If the Yankees bring up a right-handed bat for this game and Mark Buehrle’s start as well it wouldn’t be a bad thing, although if they didn’t it wouldn’t be a disaster either–lefties have hit Buehrle for good power this year. The same goes for Saturday’s starter, John Danks. Still, the Yankees will have their work cut out for them with Buehrle and Danks; the latter has pitched quite well this year except for a few rough starts in May, and in his starts over this month and last has posted a 3.05 ERA. You’ve no doubt heard about Buehrle lately, but it’s worth noting that he’s rarely pitched well against the Yankees. In eight career starts he’s just 1-5 with a 6.11 ERA, Yankees batters having hit .321/.363/.463 against him. We’ll see if those numbers hold up.

Notes from around the league

NO YANKEES TONIGHT
What a drag. Although it would have been nice if they Ernie Banks-ed it on Saturday, they pushed the sucker off into the future instead. And thus, a few quick notes on the landscape:

?    It was a great week for youth, with Andrew McCutchen, and Gordon Beckham coming up, and Tommy Hanson officially due up on Sunday, and let’s throw in Matt Wieters, who made his debut a week ago today. All ranked among the top 50 or so prospects in the game, and three of the four are closer to the top than the bottom (McCutchen is the least promising of the bunch, but it’s a tough crowd).

carmona300_060509.jpg?    It was more than past time for the Indians to send Fausto Carmona to the Minors. He was wonderful in 2007, but his 2008 was bad and his 2009 has been miserable, with the former’s five walks per nine innings turning into six walks per nine. Carmona can still induce those grounders, but he wasn’t getting the double plays when he needed them, perhaps because he was more likely to pass the batter than get him out. Resultantly, just two of his 12 starts have earned the quality start seal of approval. His 2008 and 2009 combined: 10-13 in 34 starts, 6.10 ERA (including a shutout!), 181.1 innings, 195 hits, 111 walks, 94 strikeouts.

?    Billy Butler of the Royals is batting .288/.348/.440, which would be great if he were a shortstop, but it’s not that exciting coming from a first baseman/designated hitter. Butler is only 23, so he could find another gear, but right now he’s Shea Hillenbrand.

?    If the Yankees were to bail out on Hideki Matsui before the end of the year, would you be comfortable with it if the reason were that it would allow them to block the Red Sox off of Nick Johnson? Part two of that question is, would it be worth it for the Yankees to get into a prospect bidding war with the Red Sox in order to accomplish that goal?

?    It’s sad that the era of making “great man” movies ended 60 years ago, before Paul Muni or Edward G. Robinson could portray Branch Rickey.

?    As much as the Orioles have improved their club of late with graduates of the farm system and the occasional perspicacious trade acquisitions (Adam Jones, this means you), they’re still desperate for a quality shortstop. Whoever the next great, or even decent, Orioles shortstop is, he’s not presently in the organization.

?    Rumor has the Braves wanting to add Brad Penny, which seems like insurance for the kids. Their rotation has been the least of their problems. Nate McClouth isn’t a great bat; the reason he was a great add for the Braves is that despite this he’s still leaps and bounds above any other outfielder the Braves have played.

?    Given their many injuries and lack of organizational depth, by the time the Yankees see the Mets next week they might be starting Wayne Garrett and John Milner again. Parenthetically, Omar Minaya was nuts to put so much faith in former Yankees farmhand Omir Santos. He’s going to be far below the replacement level with the bat when all is said and done. He’s close now, actually … The Mets have played 12 games since Jose Reyes left the lineup, and though they’re 7-5 in those games, they’ve hit .252/.336/.378. We should probably only give them half-credit for their three-game sweep of the Nationals.

?    I keep hearing how after Randy Johnson there will be no more 300 game winners forever, but with health (the big caveat for everyone) CC Sabathia is going to have a shot at it. If he averages only 15 wins a year over the duration of his Yankees contract, he’ll hit his mid-30s with something like 220 wins. It would be a steep climb to 300 from there, but not any steeper than Johnson’s. As with the Big Unit, Sabathia is a weird physical specimen, so it’s hard to project his chances of staying healthy into old age.

?    “Up” was a terrific picture, and one that will speak more to the adults than the kids, though the kids will dig it, too. Next spring, when people are debating the Academy Awards and this film has been ghettoized in the “Best Animated Film” category, it’s a good bet that no, erm, inanimate film will have been better.

MORE FROM ME
Wholesome Reading has been updated with new entries, and there will be more throughout the weekend. Warning: Politics and fish! I’ll be back here if breaking news demands it, or if I just feel lonely for you.