It was a tale of two halves last season for Chicago’s Gordon Beckham.

Last year, Beckham was coming off a very successful rookie season where he batted .270 with 14 home runs, 63 RBI and seven stolen bases in just 103 games. He was barely 23 years old and he was already knocking on the doors of top 50 status if you stretched his stats over a full season. You can imagine how excited we all were come draft day in 2010—I targeted, and drafted, him with my first selection (sixth round) in my keeper league despite already having Ian Kinsler as one of my five keepers. Boy, did I regret that decision.

To say Beckham started off 2010 slowly would be the understatement of the decade. In April, he hit just .235 with five extra-base hits (one HR) and just four RBI over 81 at-bats. He went on to hit just .159 in May and posted more strikeouts (19) than hits (13). June came and went while Beckham continued to struggle. His batting average improved a bit (.233), but his 17:2 K:BB ratio showed he was still lost at the plate. All of this added up to a .216 batting average with 35 runs, three home runs, 22 RBI and four steals in 273 at-bats prior to the All-Star break.

However, Beckham spent those three days off, it worked as he came back a completely different hitter in the second half.

Over the next two months, Beckham roared back on the scene with a .331 batting average that even Ichiro Suzuki would be proud of. Beckham’s power also returned as he hit seven home runs and added on 13 doubles and one triple. In September, he battled hand issues and only amassed 32 at-bats, batting just .188 to close out the season.

This offseason, Beckham is saying a doing all of the right things. He has reportedly added 10-15 pounds of muscle and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has said that Beckham will bat second. This would be a huge boost to his value after spending most of 2010 shuffling around the bottom of the order. At the top of the White Sox lineup you can expect more runs out of the third-year player and quite possible more stolen bases.

What 2010 did to Beckham was make him a low-risk, high-reward player and someone fantasy owners should target in the middle rounds of drafts. If you haven’t heard of the term post-hype sleeper, it’s time you become familiar with it because Beckham is just that.

2011 Fantasy Projection

.283 AVG | 89 R | 18 HR | 65 RBI | 10 SB


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