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Little Weapon

With Tim Beckham finally recording his first extra base hit this past week I figured on a league wide off day it would be a nice time to review what Beckham has done since being drafted first overall in early June. After nearly 60 plate appearances Beckham's .176/.254/.196 line is a bit lackluster, even for an 18 year old in his first pro ball experience.

Beckham has five walks and 11 strikeouts thus far, along with a hit by pitch, stolen base, and one grounder resulting in a double play. Beckham's committed five errors but using the only defensive metric I can find for minor leaguers, range factor, Beckham rates out at 4.45 for comparison B.J. Upton's career RF at short is 4.31. In other words: Beckham covers more ground than water and his error total seems to be a bit skewed since he did make two errors in one game.

Now addressing his batting approach and extended statistics, take a look at this table comparing him to a few other Rays teenagers:

Player BB% K% BABIP
Upton 12.9 18.7 0.364
Young 9.36 21.2 0.38
Jennings 8.94 15.9 0.324
Beckham 8.5 18.6 0.225
Brignac 8.26 9.91 0.418
Baldelli 4.9 22.9 0.272
Crawford 4.76 17.2 0.354
Hamilton 4.35 17.7 0.357

Not too shabby considering his low .400's OPS, but here's the catch: Beckham's hitting roughly 22% of his balls as line drives, yet only has BABIP of .225, more than .100 points below his expected BABIP. He's been ridiculously unlucky, almost the point that it's a joke. On the other hand a 57% ground ball rate probably isn't as bad as it seems - Upton for instance has a 51% grounder rate this season - and Beckham is fast enough to turn some of those into hits.

So through a few weeks the results that people will speak of for Beckham are hardly accurate of his play thus far. Whether his numbers regress to the mean this season or next doesn't matter too much, the important thing is this kid looks supremely talented.