To have written about the White Sox in the past five years is to have mulled what's up with Gordon Beckham, what's happened to Gordon Beckham, what went wrong with Gordon Beckham, and whether it has become time to get rid of Gordon Beckham. He just stayed and stayed and kept staying, begging you to weigh in on his status. Nick gave in just earlier this week. His verdict: Good gosh, get rid of Gordon Beckham already.
Now he's gone, and as Rick Hahn said "With Gordon having close to 2,900 plate appearances in a White Sox uniform, I think we are all very comfortable that we did give him that chance." Let's move on to Carlos Sanchez already.
Sanchez, 22, is hitting .293/.349/.412 in his second year in Triple-A. He's hardly dominant, and is repeating the level, but repeating the level because he's a White Sox prospect, and was thus promoted furiously until he hit a wall. He's one of the youngest players in the International League and deserves praise for his drastic improvement over last season. He's not a tremendous raw athlete, and has to get by on polish and skill. More specifically, he's Eduardo Escobar-sized, and possibly with less power.
Sanchez does provide good speed (16 of 20 stealing bases this year) and should offer excellent second base defense, but is going to need to earn his keep by spraying singles in large quantities. His contact rates suggest that will be a continual battle, and that this promotion will be yet another instance of his assignments outpacing his development.
Struggles should definitely be expected and tolerated, but it's also a great opportunity for Sanchez. When it previously seemed that it would a be three, or even four-way fight for the bits of playing time in the infield, now Sanchez has an exclusive window for an audition for the next three series, and only Marcus Semien to battle with in September.
Semien displayed contact issues in his time in Chicago and is outclassed by Sanchez's glove. So if Sanchez can display an ability to make contact and hit for average, he can give himself an early lead for Opening Day 2015 over Micah Johnson, who possesses more prospect hype and excitement but has yet to conquer Triple-A.
The most defeatist thing about Beckham was the endless familiarity with his problems. Even jokes about high fastballs were past their 15 minutes of fame. Carlos Sanchez's faults will be new and most importantly, will at least have the faintest flicker of hope that he can move past them.
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