Chris Getz and Gordon Beckham Raise An Interesting Intellectual Debate

The Sox, if you ask them, have not one but two legitimate Rookie of the Year candidates. As Guillen told the Sun-Times today:

Guillen continued to push for Beckham, and now Chris Getz, to be in the final argument for rookie of the year honors. But he made one thing clear for the Sox public relations department.

”You know, no one talks about Getz, but Getz has had a great year, too,” Guillen said. ”Those two guys grew up in this organization and hopefully they get it.”

”The only bad thing about it is maybe the [Sox] PR department will make me fly from Venezuela when they hear the news, and that’s [a negative]. I don’t fly from Venezuela for anybody’s award.”

Hilarity of that last bit aside, what about Getz’ chances as Rookie of the Year? Consider the numbers of the Sox’ prized freshmen:
Getz: 97 games, .271/.330/.366, 46 R, 18 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 31 RBI, 22 SB
Beckham: 83 games, .274/.350/.458, 45 R, 23 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 52 RBI, 6 SB

On the surface, what we’re looking at are two players with two different sets of abilities; one who can hit well and run better, and one who does almost the opposite. Considering also the fact he was drafted in 2008, Beckham would seem to have the obvious advantage, and it’s unlikely anyone will argue Beckham as the superior player of the two.

But the debate about Getz and Beckham raises an interesting question of what is truly more valuable in baseball (and especially to a team like the Sox so sorely needing to make decisions about what kind of team it wants to be). Beckham is a hot-hitting corner infielder, even though he’s technically a shortstop by trade; Getz is essentially the second coming of Ray Durham. Beckham can bring home some runs, but batting so high in the order he’s supposed to; Getz doesn’t score a lot, but it’s hard to cross the plate when you’re counting on Scott Podsednik to drive you in. Beckham has adapted quickly to fielding a new position; Getz has at least improved (not to mention he induces substantially fewer heart attacks than his predecessor).

All told, everyone knows Beckham is the superior of the two, and the more likely to win the honors. But Guillen, amidst his ravings and ramblings, actually makes sense here.