Saturday, December 14, 2013


                                              Carlos Beltr├ín

It seemed like yesterday but it was nine long years ago when free agent super tool outfielder Carlos Beltran was ready to accept a seven-year contract from the New York Mets.  Right before he signed on the dotted line, reports came out that Beltran went to the New York Yankees and offered them a discount, clearly showing his preference was to play at their locale.  However the Yanks took a pass and Beltran spent the next 6.5 seasons with the Mets, a half a year with the San Francisco Giants, and the last two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.  As Beltran has aged, his game has changed.  No longer the 30/40 dynamo he once was, a long litany of leg injuries has pretty much completely eliminated the stolen base from Beltran's game.  However despite the loss of speed, Beltran's power has never waned which was shown in the 32 and 24 home runs he hit the last two seasons in a pitching-leaning park in St. Louis.  Yes Beltran lost 8 home runs from the season prior but he also improved his average during that time from .269 to .296.  Now Beltran moves into one of the best hitting parks in baseball despite turning a very scary 37 in April.  In addition, Beltran's lefthanded swing is perfectly suited to the short porch in rightfield and one only has to look at the departed Curtis Granderson as far as the gains in home runs a lefty can have there.  Granderson never came close to hitting 40 home runs before coming to the Yankees and than proceeded to reach the mark two seasons in a row.  Now of course we are not forecasting Beltran to reach 40 home runs but 25 should be a lock and he has an outside shot at 30 if he can stay healthy. 

Ahhh Beltran's health.  Just watching Beltran run the bases came be a painful experience to witness.  As I stated previously, Beltran's long history of leg and quad ailments have robbed him of his speed and made him a constant worry for both his fantasy baseball owners and his manager, with the latter now being Joe Girardi whose job is to try and keep him upright.  Luckily for Beltran he will likely have the opportunity to DH on the days he doesn't play the field.  That will help keep his still-potent bat in the lineup while giving his body a break from the field. 

Putting it all together, Carlos Beltran signing with the Yankees likely extends his career as an outfielder 2 in fantasy baseball parlance.  As I already discussed, Beltran should be in the 25 home runs ballpark along with around 90 RBI, with an outside shot at 30 (although we don't see him getting there).  With his speed shot, Beltran is now more of an 80 runs guy and you can forget about the steals being much of a factor.  Finally, Beltran is a career .283 hitter whose batting averages have fluctuated wildly in his career which make it tough to pin down where he will land.  Figure something in the realm of .280 and anything more would be a nice bonus.  At least for the 2014 campaign, draft Beltran as an outfielder 2 and hope he can stay healthy again.

2014 PROJECTION:  .282 25 HR 91 RBI 86 R 5 SB

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