When the Baltimore Orioles traded for Tim Beckham, it looked like they got a steal, but can they expect similar production from him in 2018?
When the Baltimore Orioles traded for former No. 1 overall pick, Tim Beckham, it looked like they had gotten a steal. All it took to get him was 19-year-old right-handed pitcher Tobias Myers, who spent all of 2017 in low-A ball, and once the Orioles got Beckham, he went off.
Beckham came to the Baltimore Orioles right after the trade deadline and proceeded to have an August where he slashed .394/.417/.646 with six home runs, 27 runs, and 19 RBIs.
Then, things slowed down. A lot actually, as Beckham has a September to forget, slashing .180/.255/.348 with four home runs, nine runs, and seven RBIs, ending the year on a down note.
More from Baltimore Orioles
- What other Baltimore Orioles Offseason Storylines will you be interested in seeing?
- Baltimore Orioles to Face Numerous Playoff Contenders Down the Stretch
- Baltimore Orioles Showing Encouraging Signs During Recent Wins
- The Baltimore Orioles and the Expanded September Roster
- Orioles Josh Rogers Expectations in his Major League Debut
So what can the Baltimore Orioles expect from Tim Beckham coming into 2018? He had a very up and down season, with amazing months in June and August, a solid April, and bad months in July and September. Ultimately ending his season with a nice looking line of .278/.328/.454 with 22 home runs, 67 runs, and 62 RBIs.
So what happened? Well, at a first, cursory glance at his peripherals, it’s easy to dismiss the season as luck. He had a .365 BABIP on the year and his HR/FB rate shot up to a career-high 20.6% (the league average is around 10%).
So if you looked at his stats and said “Eh, he got lucky, it won’t happen again,” you’d be forgiven, especially considering Beckham’s track record so far as one of the bigger draft busts in MLB history.
But while Beckham is almost certainly due for some regression, it might not be as significant as one would think. There were some changes that occurred last year, especially in the second half.
Plate discipline has always been a problem for Beckham, and in the first half of the year, that was no different, with a 31.6% strikeout rate and a 6.6% walk rate. But in the second half, that strikeout rate dropped to 26.3%, though the walk rate dropped as well, to 5.8%. However, during his insane August, he started chasing breaking balls a lot less, which no doubt contributed to his success.
He also started hitting the ball to the opposite field a lot more in the second half, going from hitting it there 14.7% of the time in the first half to 27.7% of the time in the second.
Not only that, but looking at the season as a whole, his hard hit rate went up to a career-high 39.1%, good for 23rd-best in the MLB, ahead of notable names like Marcell Ozuna, Charlie Blackmon, and Giancarlo Stanton.
Summed up, it looks like this: the power seems fairly legit. Yes, his HR/FB rate might regress a bit, but being in Camden Yards and having a hard hit rate close to 40% (assuming he maintains it) means that he can maintain an above-average HR/FB rate.
The key is going to be plate discipline. If he keeps doing what he did last year, chasing the ball less (especially the off-speed stuff), he might be able to have a similar year to what he did last year.
Is a high-.260s/low-.270s average with 20-some home runs in the cards? I think it definitely is. But if he isn’t able to keep his plate discipline under control, that could drop significantly.