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White Sox #1 prospect Gordon Beckham to make MLB debut.

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a #1 prospect!

In the course of one week, we’ll have seen three MLB teams’ #1 prospects make their MLB debuts: Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson, and Chicago’s Gordon Beckham. For those who love seeing the future of Major League Baseball in early action, it’s a busy week.

Of all the promotions, Beckham’s is surrounded with the least fanfare and hype. Such is the way Chicago goes about its business…

But for a floundering franchise struggling to stay afloat in the American League Central, Beckham is an exciting breath of fresh air for South Side fans.

Where's the excitement for Beckham?

The team’s first pick in the 2008 draft, Beckham has only a year and a half of professional service under his belt. In the South Atlantic League last year, he accumulated just 58 at-bats, but showed good power and average, smacking three out of the park while hitting .310. Chicago was impressed by his performance and quickly moved him to AA Birmingham to start the 2009 season. He spent 38 games there before they promoted him to AAA Charlotte.

Beckham’s quick rise through the system has no doubt been hastened by the MLB team’s infield struggles. Third baseman Josh Fields has yet to show the game-changing power he displayed during his 2007 Rookie of the Year campaign. And while shortstop Alexei Ramirez is showing signs of life, he has yet to convince White Sox brass that 2008 wasn’t a fluke. Second baseman Chris Getz is struggling to the tune of just 20 runs scored and 10 RBI through 158 ABs.

Beckham will instantly steal ABs from all three infielders. Beckham went through college as a shortstop, but he also dabbled at second base. Upon his promotion to Charlotte this year, the organization immediately had him starting at third. They’re clearly grooming him to take over for Fields, but if Getz and Ramirez continue their lackluster play, he will move around the diamond wherever he’s needed.

While there’s no telling how his power will translate, Beckham has shown good plate presence through all stops on his professional journey (though he didn’t take a walk in 24 ABs at Charlotte). If his pitch recognition stays consistent at the MLB level, he could have the same effect Fields did in 2007.

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