While all eyes were on Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton, Dan Duquette came in with a surprising addition to the infield.
Why the O’s needed a shortstop
Since the Orioles do not have much of a farm system, there hasn’t been anyone to internally who could fill the position on a regular basis. The rotating door of shortstops has been filled by Ruben Tejada and occasionally by Johnny Giavotella and even Jonathan Schoop. Unfortunately, Tejada’s plate performance has been less than spectacular after the O’s purchased his contract from the New York Yankees in early June.
Of course, shortstops aren’t usually known for their batting averages, but Tejada has been performing under his career numbers since arriving in Baltimore. In 110 at-bats, he’s averaged .227 with six doubles and 14 strikeouts. His career average is .251.
Beckham’s 2017 stats
On the flip side, Beckham has had his best season to date. He is batting a slash of .259/.314/.407 with a .721 OPS. He has 12 home runs, but 110 strike outs in his 317 at-bats. Despite the better batting average, Beckham is currently ranked 9th in strikeouts in the American League. On a positive note, he is also in the tied for 7th in the race for the most triples; he has three.
Beckham has been with the Tampa Bay Rays since they drafted him right out of high school in 2008. He made his Major League debut in 2013, but he played his first full season in 2015. With the Rays, he played most of his games at shortstop but occasionally was put at second. When needed, the Rays even put him in at first and third and he even filled in at DH.
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Where Beckham ranks
Beckham will be a welcome addition to the left side of the infield. When comparing his stats to the other infielders in Birdland, only Schoop has better stats. Beckham’s slash puts him between Seth Smith and Joey Rickard, but he has more home runs and triples than both of them.
The Rays usually do well when they sign draft players and Beckham was no exception. But, the 2008 class was one of the best ones in memory. The Rays had the first pick that year, and Beckham was their choice. The players who followed him in the first round include Buster Posey, Eric Hosmer, Pedro Alvarez, and Justin Smoak. That year, the Orioles did not get a pick until the fourth round. They picked Brian Matusz.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Orioles will now have Beckham under team control for three more seasons as he qualifies for a few more years of arbitration.