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The Next Big Thing: Gordon Beckham

Gordon Beckham has done nothing but hit since the White Sox made him the eighth overall pick in last year's draft. He reported to Single-A after receiving a $2.6 million signing bonus, hit .310/.365/.500 in 14 games there, and then finished his first pro season by batting .394/.468/.652 in the Arizona Fall League.

Beckham was one of the big stories in White Sox camp this spring as a non-roster invitee, as the University of Georgia product hit .270/.325/.568 with two homers, five doubles, and two steals in 16 games before eventually being sent to Double-A while the White Sox went with Chris Getz as their starting second baseman.

Making the transition from college shortstop to pro second baseman is perhaps the main reason why Beckham wasn't a serious candidate to crack the Opening Day roster, but he's off to a .306/.382/.510 start through a dozen games at Double-A and it may be time for the White Sox to start planning for his call up.

However, the obvious move of installing Beckham at second base doesn't make a ton of sense right now given that Getz has done a fine job there thus far, and calling him up won't fix the White Sox's problems in center field unless they're willing to do some serious shifting around defensively (Beckham back to shortstop, Alexei Ramirez to center field, for instance).

For now Beckham will keep refining his defense at second base while knocking around Double-A pitchers and the White Sox will likely wait to see if Getz falters before turning to their long-term answer at the position. Either way, Beckham is just about MLB-ready less than one year after being drafted and Chicago has an awfully nice double-play combination on the horizon assuming Ramirez snaps out of his current funk.

Beckham is most often compared to Michael Young, and if things go smoothly he profiles as a .280-.300 hitter with 20-homer power, good plate discipline, and plus defense up the middle. Ozzie Guillen has been searching for a leadoff man this season and Beckham would be a fit in that role while his power develops, so there's a strong chance he'll be in Chicago for good by the All-Star break regardless of whether Getz continues to hold his own.

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