Orioles Tim Beckham surprising August fantasy superstar

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 25: Tim Beckham
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 25: Tim Beckham /

Before his deadline move from the Rays to the Orioles, Tim Beckham was a mediocre shortstop with a 102 wRC+. No-one expected what would happen next.

One of the more surprising performances of the season has been the transformation of former No.1 draft pick Tim Beckham from a middling, middle infielder to the catalyst behind the Orioles second half surge.

On August 1, the Orioles were lying fourth in the AL East, and many baseball correspondents dismayed that they had not traded away Manny Machado before the deadline. Now, with a full month of games still left to play, Baltimore is above .500 and only a game and a half outside of the second wildcard spot.

It is unrealistic to heap too much credit on the shoulders of their deadline day acquisition, but boy has he made a difference.

This month, Beckham has scored 26 runs, the same number as Mike Trout, with only Charlie Blackmon and Giancarlo Stanton registering more.

As if to emphasize the extent of this anomaly, Beckham’s previous high in a single month was 12 runs.

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Obviously hitting at the top of the revitalized Baltimore order is helping, with Machado, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones, the Orioles two, three and four batters, all hitting above .300 this month.

Beckham’s failure to live up to the high draft pick status was partly caused by his appalling plate discipline, and this has continued with a 2.4% walk rate since moving to the Orioles. He has walked three times in August.

His strikeout rate (which was over 30% for his career) has dropped noticeably to only 18.1% this month, but that is likely to be nothing more than a factor of a small sample size.

What is not in doubt is that Beckham has been accumulating extra-base hits for fun, with only Stanton and Machado hitting more this month.

The 27-year-old has the power you usually associate with a slugger. The 40% hard contact rate is slightly better than Stanton’s 39% and exceptional from a shortstop.

Despite leading MLB with 47 hits this month, including 10 doubles, two triples, and six home runs, Beckham is still available in one-third of ESPN leagues and 25% of Yahoo and CBS leagues.

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The underlying statistics suggest that Beckham’s poor plate discipline and the third highest BABIP in the majors will result in a significant drop in his production for the rest of the season. But Beckham was a fantasy stud in August, so why can’t he repeat it in September?