Beckham's Return Will be Welcomed
Gordon Beckham is currently on a rehab assignment in Triple-A, and he could return this weekend. Beckham has been out since April 10th after fracturing the hamate bone in his left wrist. Beckham suffered the injury while swinging the bat in a game versus the Washington Nationals. After undergoing surgery to remove the fractured bone, he was given a recovery time of 6-8 weeks.
Prior to the injury, Beckham was off to a nice start early in the year by going 6-for-19 with a RBI in seven games. During his current five game rehab stint, Beckham has 7 hits in 22 at-bats with two RBI. Hopefully, Beckham will continue to hit when he is most likely activated from the disabled list this weekend because the Sox are still in a desperate need of some offense. Beckham will likely hit 8th or 9th in the batting order upon returning, but with a couple solid weeks of hitting, he may find himself hitting 2nd in the lineup. The White Sox currently don’t have an ideal two-hole hitter with Jeff Keppinger’s horrid start to the season, so the need is there. Alexei Ramirez has been hitting second recently, but everyone knows that his free-swinging approach and low on-base skills profiles more as a 6th or 7th hitter. In addition to the potential offensive production, Beckham will immediately provide an upgrade defensively at second base. The White Sox have struggled defensively this season, so it will be nice to have another reliable fielder up the middle.
With Beckham returning to his spot as the team’s starting second baseman, the White Sox will have an interesting decision to make. While Beckham has been out, Keppinger has received the majority of the starts at second base with Conor Gillaspie manning the hot-corner. When Beckham returns, the Sox can opt to go with Gillaspie, Keppinger, or a platoon at third base. Gillaspie has been the better hitter of the two, batting .276 with three home runs and 8 RBI. As mentioned, Keppinger has been terrible this season with a .204 average, one home run and 12 RBI. Neither player provides the power and run production that a team would want from a corner infielder, but the Sox don’t have any other options.
If the Sox choose to stick with Gillaspie, then they will be playing a utility bench player $3.5 million and potentially $12 million over the next three seasons. Obviously, the Sox hope Keppinger will start to hit (and he should), but right now they have to play the hot hand with Gillaspie. In my opinion, the Sox will probably opt to go with a platoon for the time being. The left-handed hitting Gillaspie will likely see the bulk of the starts versus right-handed pitchers, and the right-handed hitting Keppinger will start versus southpaws. That may be the best decision right now, and it could be a way to maximize both players’ value.
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