Gordon Beckham (Y-D, 2007), who helped the 2007 Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox win their second consecutive Cape Cod Baseball League championship and third in four years, has been traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by the Chicago White Sox for cash and a player to be named later.
The 27-year-old second baseman has played his entire professional career in the White Sox organization after being their first-round pick (eighth overall) in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He made his MLB debut less than a year later and batted .270/.347/.460 with 14 homers and 63 RBIs in 103 games, winning AL Rookie of the Year honors from The Sporting News and the MLB Players Association.
Considered an excellent defensive player, Beckham gives the Angels added infield depth. He’ll back up starting second baseman Howie Kendrick and can also be used on the left side of the infield, having played third base in his rookie season and shortstop during a stellar career at the University of Georgia and for Y-D in the Cape League.
Beckham has struggled with injuries the last two years. In 2013, he played in just 103 games, batting .267/.322/.372 with five home runs and 24 RBIs. This season, he leaves Chicago after 101 games in which he hit .221/.263/.336 with seven homers and 36 RBIs.
Beckham enjoys almost legendary status at his alma mater, the University of Georgia. He started all 197 games of his three-year career, attaining All-America and Academic All-America status. He led the Bulldogs to a pair of College World Series appearances, including the 2008 finals, and was a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Dick Howser Trophy and Brooks Wallace Award. A consensus All-America choice in 2008, he hit .411 with a school record 28 home runs and 77 RBIs. He holds the school career home run record with 53.
Georgia announced in February that its Most Valuable Player award will now have Beckham’s name attached to it. At the time, Bulldogs coach Dave Perno said: “Gordon possesses all the qualities a program is looking for in their most valuable player, and he continues to represent Georgia in a first-class manner as a professional in the major leagues. It’s a tribute to how he valued the importance of excelling in the classroom and on the field as a Georgia Bulldog.”
At Y-D, Beckham was one of four Red Sox players who have since achieved considerable success in Major League Baseball. He’ll rejoin two of them with the Angels, outfielder Collin Cowgill and infielder Grant Green. The others are Y-D’s two catchers, Jason Castro (Houston Astros) and Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants), whom Beckham succeeded as Y-D’s shortstop. Posey had played the position for the 2006 championship team at Y-D before switching to catcher.
Beckham was named to the Cape League’s East Division All-Star team and the postseason All-League squad. Baseball America listed him as the league’s No. 12 pro prospect, five spots higher than Posey, who would later lead the Giants to two world championships. Beckham’s nine home runs topped the league and eclipsed Posey’s season total by six. The shortstop also outhit the Posey .284 to .281 and had 44 hits to Posey’s 36.