Tag:Gordon Beckham
Posted on: December 10, 2011 12:05 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Chicago White Sox

Magglio Ordonez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

If there's an opposite of the Oakland A's and Billy Beane's Moneyball, it's Kenny Williams and the White Sox. The White Sox have not drafted well and searched to fill holes through free agency, spending money and taking big chances in trades. While Williams' way makes him the butt of some jokes and nobody's making a movie about him anytime soon, he does have something Beane doesn't have -- a World Series trophy.

Lineup

1. Alexei Ramirez, SS
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B
3. Michael Morse, 1B
4. Chris Young, CF
5. Carlos Lee, DH
6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
7. Ryan Sweeney, LF
8. Brent Morel, 3B
9. Chris Stewart, C

Starting Rotation

1. Mark Buehrle
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Daniel Hudson
4. Brandon McCarthy
5. Clayton Richard

Bullpen

Closer - Jon Rauch
Set up - Matt Guerrier, Chris Sale, Addison Reed, Boone Logan, John Ely
Long - Lucas Harrell

Notable Bench Players

Not surprisingly, when looking at the state of the organization (and the state of that lineup), the White Sox are thin on bench players, with Dayan Viciedo making a push for the starting lineup as well as Chris Getz on the infield and Mike Cameron in the outfield.

What's Good?

There's no Adam Dunn, for starters. The rotation is good, especially at the top with Buehrle and Gonzalez. The rest of the rotation is good enough, as well. While Rauch isn't the top closer around, the rest of the bullpen is talented.

What's Not?

The lineup isn't going to strike fear into too many pitching staffs, even though there are nice pieces. The corner outfielder and DH are all on the down side of their career. There's also not much depth on the roster among position players.

Comparison to real 2011

The White Sox finished 79-83 in 2011, thanks to poor seasons from Dunn, Morel, Beckham and Alex Rios. The rotation is likely a little better in real life than this team, while the bullpen is better here than in real life, evening out. The lineup may not put up a lot of runs, but the White Sox didn't, either. The real team has an impact bat in Paul Konerko and a good complimentary piece in Carlos Quentin. This lineup doesn't have those kinds of weapons, so I'm not so sure our hypothetical team could match the 79 wins the White Sox finished with in 2011.

Next: Baltimore Orioles

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:45 am
Edited on: September 3, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Report: GM Williams in spat with hitting coach

Walker

By Evan Brunell

White Sox GM Kenny Williams and hitting coach Greg Walker had strong words for each other recently, culminating in Williams telling Walker to clean his locker out, the Chicago Sun-Times writes.

Walker was reacting to Williams' comments about second baseman Gordon Beckham's swing, after the GM said Aug. 19 that he preferred Beckham's swing from the University of Georgia as opposed to the one he has now. When owner Jerry Reinsdorf heard about the spat, he was able to calm everyone down and allow Walker to keep his job.

“I’d rather not comment on it,’’ Walker (pictured) said of the incident to the Sun-Times, which CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler says happened during the home series against Texas Aug. 19-21. “What goes on in our clubhouse stays in our clubhouse. It’s been a very frustrating year for a lot of people.’

The White Sox seem to be devolving into a mess, as manager Ozzie Guillen has been a lightning rod all season. Guillen and Williams have a fractured relationship that caused the skipper to say he would not manage next season, the final year of his deal, without a contract extension -- but he may not even make it to next season, as the prevailing opinion is that one of Guillen or Williams, if not both, will be let go after the year. That creates a lot of uncertainty for Guillen's coaches.

“There’s an expiration date on all coaches and managers -- and players,’’ Walker added. “I had a career as a player and that was over. I’ll wait till the end of the year and I’ll make a decision -- or they will make a decision. But in a pennant race with guys fighting as hard as they are, the last thing I want is to be is a distraction or become a story."

Reinsdorf is considered a loyal owner and has worked diligently behind the scenes to keep the Williams/Guillen relationship harmonious -- as harmonious as it can possibly be, anyways. But as the season winds to a close in what has been a frustrating year for the White Sox, who remain in striking distance for the division at 6/12 back of Detroit, tempers are starting to boil over, but Walker wants no part of it.

“My goal to come here was not to be a personality. I came here to help players. I am still doing that every day. Sometimes we’re not getting the results we desire and that’s part of the business. It’s been very frustrating for everybody involved and that’s all I can say about it," Walker noted. “So far we haven’t played well and our department is a big part of it. So yeah, I’ve been frustrated about it just like everybody else. But I’m not the story. I’m just a hitting coach. It’s an important role but in the big picture it’s way down the food chain.’’

Beckham was a highly-regarded second baseman coming out of college, being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft and debuting the following year with a .270/.347/.460 line in 430 plate appearances. Beckham has slid backwards since then, though, and currently has a .231/.291/.330 mark in 460 PA.

“Any high fastball, he could get on top if it with his top hand,’’ Williams had said back on Aug. 19, sparking Walker's ire. “But again, as the general manager you sit back and you have to respect the work that your coaches do and you have to respect the desire from the player as to what he thinks will work. I personally liked the swagger and the cock that he had of his wrists and the loading of his hands when he had the previous swing I spoke of.’’

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:53 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Burroughs hits 1st homer since '05

Sean Burroughs

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sean Burroughs, Diamondbacks: Burroughs' first home run since April 30, 2005, accounted for the only two runs of Tuesday's 2-0 victory over the Nationals, snapping Arizona's six-game losing streak. Ian Kennedy pitched seven shutout innings, but it was Burroughs' shot with one on and one out in the seventh off of Jordan Zimmermann that was the story of the game. Burroughs, 30, hadn't been in the big leagues since 2006 before being called up earlier this year after a disappointing start to his career. Before signing with the Diamondbacks this past offseason, he was battling substance abuse.

Shin-Soo Choo, Indians: Choo celebrated the birth of his third child Monday and then had a big day Tuesday, going 4 for 8 in a doubleheader against the Mariners, including a walk-off three-run homer in the first game that delivered the Indians a 7-5 victory and snapped a four-game losing streak for Cleveland. The Indians lost the second game, but Choo added another homer, as well as a triple in the nightcap. Choo finished the day with five RBI and even hit a double during Tuesday's earthquake. Indians manager Manny Acta called Choo earlier on Tuesday to make sure his outfielder was available to play -- luckily for the Indians, he was available.

Yonder Alonso, Reds: Dusty Baker gave Joey Votto a rare day off Tuesday, letting the rookie Alonso get the start in South Florida, where he grew up and played college ball at Miami. Not only did Alonso homer on the first pitch he saw on the night, but he also broke a tie with a two-out, two-run double in the ninth inning in front of his friends and family for a 8-6 Reds victory


Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays: The Blue Jays' right-hander has some of the best stuff in the big leagues, but the 27-year-old has never found any kind of consistency. In his last start before Tuesday, Morrow struck out a dozen Mariners in six innings. Tuesday he gave up nearly that many hits in just 4 2/3 innings against the Royals. Kansas City had two doubles, a triple and two home runs among their 11 hits in the 25 batters Morrow faced in a 6-4 Toronto loss.

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals: Coming into the game, Lohse had allowed just three earned runs over his last 13 1/3 innings -- he gave up that many before he retired a batter on Tuesday on a three-run homer by Matt Kemp. Lohse allowed four more runs in the second inning and then a solo homer to Rod Barajas in the fourth inning. Lohse was lifted after three innings in St. Louis' 13-2 loss to the Dodgers.

White Sox: Sloppy play all around hurt Chicago in a 5-4 loss to the Angels, starting with two first-inning errors and then a mental mistake in the ninth. Peter Bourjos reached in the first inning on a throwing error by Alexei Ramirez and then scored on a fielding error by Juan Pierre in the same inning. In the seventh inning, catcher Tyler Flowers avoided a double play by taking off before Brent Morel's grounder, but got greedy by trying to advance to third where he was thrown out by first baseman Mark Trumbo to end the inning. Then in the ninth, second baseman Gordon Beckham failed to cover second on Alberto Callaspo's single, allowing Callaspo to advance to second base, taking away the double play. After an intentional walk to Maircer Izturis, Bourjos singled in the game-ending run.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Verlander fronts AL Central All-Stars

By Matt Snyder

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West

The AL Central has been the most upside-down of all divisions in baseball this year, at least according to preseason expectations. Thus, the team doesn't much look like one we'd expect. Let's dive in.

C Alex Avila, Tigers: Very easy choice here, as the AL All-Star starter resides in this division. It's just that if you read that phrase at the start of the season it would have been very obvious we were talking about Joe Mauer. And if Mauer went down with an injury for a while -- as he did -- the next in line would have likely been Carlos Santana. Nope, it's instead Avila. With a .370 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 46 RBI, he's the man. It's been that kind of year in the Central.

1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: This was a very tough call over Paul Konerko. The two are so comparable across the board that it's hard to make a distinction. We'll give the nod to Cabrera based upon the 40-point lead in on-base percentage, but this is really a dead-heat. The fans certainly got the AL "Final Vote" right when electing Konerko.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Alex Gordon KC LF
2 Asdrubal Cabrera CLE SS
3 Miguel Cabrera DET 1B
4 Carlos Quentin CWS RF
5 Travis Hafner CLE DH
6 Jhonny Peralta DET 3B
7 Melky Cabrera KC CF
8 Alex Avila DET C
9 Gordon Beckham CWS 2B
2B Gordon Beckham, White Sox: This is a choice between the undeserving. Orlando Cabrera, Chris Getz, Alexi Casilla, Ryan Raburn. Yeah, those are the other choices. Beckham has at least shown flashes of being productive and -- at this point in their respective careers -- easily has the most potential. Unfortunately, that's what we have to go on here.

SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Unlike second base, we're loaded here, with Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Alexei Ramirez. Alcides Escobar is a defensive stud, too. Cabrera, though, is hitting .293/.387/.489 with 14 homers, 51 RBI, 55 runs and 12 steals. Ramirez is our runner-up here, because we're doing something else with Peralta ...

3B Jhonny Peralta, Tigers: There was no other choice. I had to cheat and move Peralta back to third. Otherwise we were looking at Danny Valencia, Brent Morel, Mark Teahan, Jack Hannahan or the stuggled yet promising Mike Moustakas. Or some other players who aren't even close to All-Stars at this point, yet have been seeing time at third in this division. So we're using Peralta and his .312 average, 14 homers and 50 RBI.

LF Alex Gordon, Royals: After years of waiting, here is the Alex Gordon many were thinking would show his face in 2007. He's put up good numbers -- 11 homers, 50 runs, 50 RBI, 24 doubles, six steals -- and been a steady force in the lineup for the Royals. Even atop the lineup, which we didn't think we'd see when he arrived on the scene. This was a tough call over Brennan Boesch, but we're giving Gordon the nod.

CF Melky Cabrera, Royals: Grady Sizemore missed a lot of games due to injury, Austin Jackson has taken a step backward, Denard Span has missed a lot of games and Alex Rios has been awful. Who's that leave? Yep, Cabrera. Apparently it's the best last name to sport in this division, as 33 percent of the starting lineup has it. Melky has hit for average, hit for power, run well and been a leader for the young Royals. It's shocking to say it, but he's the easy choice here (again, it's backwards).

RF Carlos Quentin, White Sox: Once again, Boesch gets passed over. Quentin has 17 home runs, 51 RBI, a solid OBP due to walks and hit-by-pitches and plays solid defense in right for the White Sox. Plus, Konerko and Quentin have had to pick up some serious slack in the power department with the disappearance of Rios and Adam Dunn. This is actually a pretty loaded position, too, with Jeff Francoeur having a good year, Shin-Soo Choo's talent (when healthy), Michael Cuddyer and Boesch.

DH Travis Hafner, Indians: Sure, he's missed a small chunk of games, but Pronk has shown much more power than Victor Martinez, and that's what we want in a DH. Hafner has eight home runs and a .528 slugging percentage in 51 games, while Martinez has only hit six homers in 77 games with a .457 slugging percentage. Billy Butler also gets squeezed out here with having a bit less power than Martinez.

SP Justin Verlander, Tigers: Guys like Justin Masterson and Scott Baker are having pretty good seasons, but there's really no reason to even expand on the discussion. Verlander is starting to come up with Roy Halladay in the best-pitcher-in-baseball discussions.

RP Al Alburquerque, Tigers: The rookie has been a Godsend for the Tigers' bullpen, as he's taken over the setup role Joel Zumaya can never stay healthy enough to hold down. Plus, big-money free agent signee Joaquin Benoit faltered early in the season. Alburquerque stepped up and struck out 47 hitters in just 29 innings. Rafael Perez is the runner-up here, but Alburquerque gets the nod.

CL Chris Perez, Indians: Too bad Joakim Soria wasn't quite himself early in the season, because this could have been easy. Instead, we've got a three-way race with no right answer. No matter how many ways you look at Chris Perez, Sergio Santos and Jose Valverde, there's no real way to argue and ironclad case as one man emerging as the absolute best of the three. We'll go with Perez, but it's a coin-flip.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: June 4, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Best first-round picks of the last decade



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With the MLB Draft beginning Monday night at 7 p.m. ET, the Eye on Baseball crew is going to look at the best -- and worst -- first-round draft picks by each team in the last 10 years. 

With the way the baseball draft goes, there are plenty of busts in the first round every year, but there are a lot of great players in the game that were drafted in the first round and the supplemental first round. Tomorrow we'll look at the misses, but for today, here are the hits.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Most first overall picks make the majors and many (Alex Rodrgiuez, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones) find their way to superstardom. Justin Upton may not be a superstar yet, but the first overall pick of the 2005 draft already has one All-Star appearance under his belt and will probably have more to come.

Atlanta Braves: With the 14th pick in the 2007 draft, the Braves took a local kid, outfielder Jason Heyward. Nice pick.

MLB Draft

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters is close to taking this spot, but for now it's still Nick Markakis, who was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft out of Young Harris College in Georgia.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox had five picks in the first round and the supplemental first round in 2005, and as good as Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie are, the pick here is right-hander Clay Buchholz, taken 42nd overall out of Angelina College.

Chicago Cubs: While his name is now a cautionary tale, it's easy to forget just how good Mark Prior was before arm trouble. Drafted with the second pick of the 2001 draft, he won six games in 2002 and 18 in 2003, his best season. Overall, Prior was 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA.

Gordon BeckhamChicago White Sox: Even with his struggles last year and this season, Gordon Beckham has been a productive player for the White Sox after he was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Cincinnati Reds: Taken out of high school with the 12th overall pick in 2005, Jay Bruce is the reigning National League Player of the Month and only seems to be getting better at 24. He already has 85 homers in his career, including a National League-best 17 this season.

Cleveland Indians: How bad have the Indians' first-round picks been the last decade? The 18 players taken by Cleveland in the first round and the supplemental first round over the last 10 years have collected just 506 games in the majors, 334 for Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall (29th overall in 2008) may eventually be their best in this list, but for right now it's the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, who at least has 40 big-league wins.

Colorado Rockies: While the Indians' choice was tough, the Rockies' wasn't -- Troy Tulowitzki was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2005.

Detroit Tigers: With the second pick in 2004, the Tigers took Justin Verlander.

Florida Marlins: The team's best pick of the last decade came in the fourth round of the 2002 draft when it took high school pitcher Josh Johnson, but as far as first-round picks, their best is right-hander Chris Volstad, taken with the 16th pick of the 2005 draft.

Chris BurkeHouston Astros: The Astros didn't have first-round picks in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and haven't had much production from any of them. There's really just two choices, Chris Burke (10th overall, 2001) and Jason Castro (10th overall, 2008). Castro has potential, but is out this season and has played in just 67 big league games, so the pick is Burke, who played in parts of six seasons with three teams, but his 18th-inning walk-off homer (left) to clinch the 2005 NLDS against the Braves is one of the franchise's signature moments.

Kansas City Royals: This choice could be much more difficult in five years, but for now it's pretty easy -- Zack Greinke. The Royals selected him sixth overall in the 2002 draft and he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver was the 12th pick of the 2004 draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers took lefty Clayton Kershaw with the seventh pick of the 2006 draft out of a Texas high school.

Milwaukee Brewers: This could change in a couple of years, but for now, Prince Fielder (seventh overall, 2002) leads Ryan Braun (fifth overall, 2005). Fielder is a free agent this offseason, while Braun is under contract through 2020.

Minnesota Twins: There were those who questioned the pick of hometown boy Joe Mauer with the first pick in the 2001 draft instead of Prior. Not anymore.

New York Mets: Fred Wilpon may not think he's a franchise player, but David Wright is the team's best first-round pick in the last decade, taken with the 38th overall pick in 2001.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have plenty of first-round picks on their roster, although few were their picks. Two key pitchers, starter Phil Hughes (23rd overall in 2004) and reliever Joba Chamberlain (41st overall in 2006), were Yankee picks. The pick here is Chamberlain, who has allowed fewer runs in a similar number of innings and is currently pitching.

Oakland Athletics: A chapter of the book Moneyball focuses on the 2002 MLB Draft and Billy Beane's distaste of drafting high school players. In the book, the team is excited the Brewers take a player they won't touch (Fielder), and the team also doesn't want Zack Greinke, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels or Matt Cain -- all high school player. But they get the man they want the most, Nick Swisher at No. 16. It's a good pick, as is Joe Blanton at 24 -- but it's hardly Greinke, Fielder, Hamels or Cain. The team also picked Jeremy Brown, a catcher out of Alabama, and Mark Teahen in the supplemental round. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Another pick from the Moneyball draft, the pick after the A's took Swisher, the Phillies snatched up Hamels, the left-hander from a California high school with the 17th pick.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 2005 draft featured six players listed as center fielders taken in the first round -- and all six have made the big leagues. The second one taken was the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen with the 11th overall pick. The others were Cameron Maybin (10), Bruce (12), Trevor Crowe (14), Ellsbury (23) and Colby Rasmus (28).

San Diego Padres: The Padres may have had one of the biggest busts of the last decade in Matt Bush, the first overall pick in 2004 draft, but he's not been their only bad pick. The best of the lot was Khalil Greene, taken No. 13 in 2002, who had a promising start of his career, but his troubles with social anxiety disorder drove him from the game. Still, he's the Padres' career leader in homers by a shortstop with 84.

San Francisco Giants: Nine teams passed on the right-hander out of Washington, some scared off by his funky motion and small stature. Tim Lincecum proved them wrong.

Evan LongoriaSeattle Mariners: Adam Jones (37th pick in 2003) played in just 73 games for the Mariners, but was named an All-Star and won a Gold Glove with the Orioles in 2009.

St. Louis Cardinals: With a compensation pick for the Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals used the 28th pick of the 2005 draft to take Rasmus out of an Alabama High School.

Tampa Bay Rays: Were Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds better than Evan Longoria? The Royals and Rockies took those two right-handers with the first two picks of the 2006 draft, leaving Longoria (left) for the Rays.

Texas Rangers: Funny story here -- in 2001 I was working at the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia and was covering the NCAA Regional in Athens when a Teixeira-led Georgia Tech squad was bounced from the tournament. After his last game, a kid from the student radio station asked Teixeira if he thought his poor showing in the regional would hurt his draft status. The Georgia Tech coach, Danny Hall, took the microphone before Teixeira could answer and said, "No." So did the Rangers, who took him fifth overall.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays took lefty Ricky Romero out of Cal State Fullerton with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.

Washington Nationals: Another pick that could change with the emergence of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but that's still several years away because of the fourth pick of the 2005 draft,  Ryan Zimmerman.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 27, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 11:38 pm
 

Beckham leaves game after being hit in face

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Gordon BeckhamWhite Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham has been taken out of Chicago's game in Toronto after being hit in the face by a relay throw. After the game, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he didn't believe the injury was serious and doesn't expect Beckham to need to go on the disabled list.

"It looked like he fought [Manny] Pacquiao," Guillen told reporters, including the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales. "He was lucky. It could have been worse." 

In the third inning at Rogers Centre, Toronto's Juan Rivera hit his second double of the game, and the throw from Alex Rios hit Gordon square in the face.

The concern is it hit Beckham in the eye. He walked off the field with assistance, holding the area around his left eye. He was 0 for 1 when he left the game.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:12 pm
 

White Sox starting to 'put it on the board'



By Matt Snyder


The Chicago White Sox were a popular pick to the win the AL Central prior to the 2011 season. I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I picked them. The starting rotation is strong and the offense looked to be powerful.

Instead, the offense was abominable through last Friday. The White Sox had dropped eight of nine games and sat in last place in a pretty bad division at 11-22. While the back-end of the bullpen has been a serious concern, the most head-scratching problem with the team was the lack of offense. From April 15 through May 6, the White Sox scored more than three runs four times -- two of those were four-run games. They scored either zero or one run seven times. This was a 20-game stretch.

If you look at the currrent seasonal totals for American League ballclubs, the White Sox rank 10th in runs, 10th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 10th in OPS. The problems were evident all over the place. Adam Dunn had an awful transition to the AL, possibly affected by his appendectomy (though Matt Holliday seems to be just fine). A.J. Pierzynski can't hit anymore. Juan Pierre hasn't been getting hits like he usually does and has gotten caught stealing (eight) more times than he's stolen a base (six). Alex Rios got off to a pitiful start while Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have scuffled more times than not as well.

You can say what you want about that collection of players, but you cannot dispute there is lots of talent there. I've seen many fans complaining about having a bunch of strikeout machines, but only three AL teams have struck out less than the White Sox. There is lots of power, but there is also speed and it's not an overly old bunch. The oldest one is Paul Konerko and he's been raking.

Now, with a three-game winning streak, it appears the lineup is waking up from its collective funk. Konerko has been consistent and hitting well all season. Carlos Quentin has had some insane hot streaks. He's up and down, but still has a .944 OPS with eight home runs and 23 RBI. They just needed everyone else to wake up and it could very well be happening.

In the past three games, the White Sox have scored 19 runs. Two of those came in the pitcher's paradise known as Safeco Field, too.

Some of the individuals who had been struggling are waking up, which only alleviates the collective pressure on the entire lineup.

Beckham went 6-15 (.400) in the series with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and three runs. Ramirez went 3-8 with a double and a home run in the past two games. Dunn went 5-13 (.385) with three doubles and four runs in the last three. Rios has gone 11 for his past 28 with a 1.036 in the past seven games. Even Brent Morel went 5-8 over the weekend.

The White Sox are still just 14-22 and a whopping 9 1/2 games out on May 10. That's an uphill climb. But the bats are starting to wake up, the bullpen hasn't been near as bad in recent weeks and Jake Peavy is coming back to bolster the rotation. There are five games left on a west-coast trip against some pretty good pitching. If the White Sox win two of those games, the 5-4 trip would be considered a success and they'd be coming home to a seven-game homestand in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors.

If you still don't buy the Indians -- and note that the rest of the division is flawed -- don't count the White Sox out. Remember, baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Gordon Beckham mired in hitting, mental struggle

BeckhamBy Evan Brunell

Gordon Beckham is supposed to be one of the best young hitters in the game.

Instead, as he begins his third season, the 24-year-old is a frustrating enigma, prone to massive bouts of streakiness. Beckham was the eighth pick of the 2008 draft and was one of the first early success stories of that crop as he appeared in 103 games the following year for the White Sox, hitting .270/.347/.460 with 14 home runs in 430 plate appearances, finishing fifth in Rookie of the Year balloting.

Primed for a full season in 2010, many predicted Beckham's breakout as an impact player. That happened, but it took until July. Before the All-Star Game, Beckham struggled with a .216/.277/.304 line, which is absolutely putrid and certainly cost the White Sox quite a bit of production out of that spot. But the light finally went on, and Beckham hit .310/.380/.487 after a scorching July and August. His OPS dipped all the way to .497 in September, but also played in just 13 games that month due to complications after being hit on the left hand by a pitch.

Entering 2011, the thought was, again, that Beckham would be primed to bust through with a season putting him on the map.

Uh, not so fast. Beckham has kicked things off with a .200/.247/.311 line. But even that doesn't tell the full story, as Beckham followed up a strong spring training with an 11-for-31 start, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Since then, Beckham is 4-for-43, which works out to a .119 batting average.

"He’s going to have to fight through it," hitting coach Greg Walker said. "There’s no answer for his mechanics. His swing is his swing. It’s going to work against all types of pitching.

"He’s swinging at a lot of pitches out of the zone. He’s frustrated. He’s getting himself out a lot. I’m not making an excuse for him because he’s too far down the road in his career. He’s not dealing with failure real well. He’s a tough kid, but mentally he’s in a funk, and he has to fight his way through it."

It's certainly not good news that Beckham is struggling with the mental aspect of it all, especially after he's already fought his way through one debilitating slump. With over 1,000 plate appearances in the majors to his name, Beckham should be gaining confidence and experience to the point where he should be able to mentally work through his troubles. 

Since Beckham has already been there, done that and the White Sox are in crisis mode trying to scrap a win where they can, the leash on Beckham won't be as long as it was last year when he continued to receive regular time until he finally got hot in July.

But who could replace Beckham? Omar Vizquel is not a full-time player at this stage in his career, and utilityman Mark Teahen has only three career games at second base, all coming in 2009 for the Royals and Brent Lillibridge belongs in a backup spot, defensive gems notwithstanding. If Chicago was to demote Beckham to Triple-A and get his head screwed on straight, the ChiSox would only have Travis Dawkins as an acceptable recall to the majors -- and Dawkins is a 31-year-old minor-league lifer.

It seems as if the White Sox are stuck with Beckham. That's not a bad thing, as he's an All-Star second baseman when right. The only problem is getting him right.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com