Confidence big part of Beckham's resurgence
CHICAGO -- As soon as Jose Abreu started to consistently pulverize baseballs upon joining the White Sox, the search for established player comps began.
Didn't Abreu's stance look a little like Albert Pujols? Could he find the same sort of yearly run production as Pujols?
Gordon Beckham, for one, would not bite on that particular topic.
"Based on past experiences of my own, I'm going to say, 'You know what, we'll just wait and see,'" said Beckham. "But he's very good, he's very humble."
Beckham burst on to the Major League scene in 2009, after being selected eighth in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He started in a 2-for-28 slide, but went on to earn two separate Rookie of the Year honors as voted on by his peers.
And then those pesky comparisons started, with many people describing Beckham as the next Michael Young. The hype followed, with talk of Beckham morphing from a top rookie into a perennial Most Valuable Player candidate, and the struggles Beckham faced off and on over his next four years became that much more heightened.
"I tried a little too hard. I tried to do a little too much," Beckham said. "Now, I feel good. I feel confident in what I'm doing. I've got a good feel for what I'm trying to do and hitting some balls hard. That's most important."
Entering Wednesday, Beckham was hitting .394 during his eight-game hitting streak and was hitting .361 in his last 20 games. He also had 13 hits in 28 at-bats against left-handed pitchers.
He's earning $4.175 million in '14, with one more year of arbitration in '15. Micah Johnson, Carlos Sanchez and Marcus Semien provide lower cost and younger options at second behind Beckham, but this solid production, combined with one of the AL's best gloves at second, makes Beckham an attractive option in his own right.
Whatever decision eventually is made, Beckham has fully arrived at a place where he's comfortable in the work he's doing and the process being followed. He's comfortable being himself.
"He's at a comfort level he hasn't had the last couple of years of knowing who he is, and the confidence he has day to day is part of it," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Mechanically, you have to do things right, but mentally, you have to go with that, too. He's just in a good spot."