What’s Tim Beckham doing differently with Orioles?
The Tampa Bay Rays are a savvy organization, so giving up on a former No. 1 overall pick was surprising. For years he couldn’t manage to get things together, but now the chip on his shoulder makes him a star. That “chip” is none other than improved vision. It seems easy enough to say batters can be more productive by swinging at fewer pitches outside the strike zone, and more inside. Beckham proves that it can be just that easy.
Outside the zone, in Tampa, he was swinging at nearly 36 percent of pitches, among the worst 25 in the Majors. Now that he’s tracking off Baltimore’s batter’s eye, he’s down to 24.5 percent errant swings. That’s good for the best 25 in the Majors.
Moving inside the zone, Beckham is swinging at 75 percent of batter-friendly pitches: a rate that would place him in the top 10 in the entire league. Using current rates, he is one of only two players in MLB with that balance of inside/outside selectivity (Brandon Belt).
While Beckham surely cannot keep up this statistical pace, it does seem that his improvements have not been entirely luck based. His BABIP will fall, as will the rest of his stats, both standard and peripheral. Beckham can, however, maintain his newfound selectivity.
If his eye remains sharp as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, the hits will continue to fall and his value will continue to rise. Cal’s legacy as the best six in Charm City history isn’t quite at stake yet, but Baltimore still may have found their shortstop of the future.