Adrian Beltre is Playing Himself into Hall Of Fame Consideration
Monday January 9, 2012
Doug Booth- Baseball Writer: With today being the official day the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) to finalize the 2012 Baseball Hall Of Fame inductees, I thought some more about Adrian Beltre as a potential candidate when he is finished playing the game. At first glance, Beltre would not seem like a viable candidate but I intend to plead his case for him. Adrian Beltre was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers while he was playing high school baseball at the age of fifteen. The Los Angeles Dodgers would later be suspended for a year from the Dominican Republic when this was revealed. However, this was a minor price to pay for securing such a great prospect. Beltre played in the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball Academy in his own country before heading to the minor leagues. His minor league career was short-lived as he was called up as a teenager in 1998 at the age of 19. Beltre struggled with Major League pitching that year hitting .215, but showed some power with 7 HRs and 22 RBIs in only 195 AB. Beltre won the third base position out of training camp in 1999 and never looked back. Beltre then enjoyed 5 solid seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, providing great defense and above average power. It was 2004 that was his breakout year.
At age 25, Adrian Beltre had one of the greatest years of all-time offensively for a third baseman. Included in his numbers were: .334 with 48 HRs and 121 RBIs, 200 hits and 104 runs. Beltre had a slugging percentage that year of .629. Adrian finished second in MVP voting to Barry Bonds. Beltre picked a perfect season to explode considering it was his free agent season. The Seattle Mariners came calling with a 5-year $64 Million deal. The Seattle Mariners had also signed Richie Sexson that year to try and compete in the AL West for 2005.
The move did not pay off at the start, with Beltre struggling in the 1st half of the season. Yet there was a nice second half of the year, as he still managed to put up 19 HR’S and 87 RBI. Beltre was frustrated with his first year although he had optimism towards the future, citing the League switch (as it was hard to have a handle on pitchers you never had faced before). The next three years, Adrian cracked 76 HRs and drove in 265 RBIs. His average fluctuated a little between .260 to .280. Amongst the numbers that favored Beltre was that he hit 109 doubles in those 3 years. This next point is playing in certain ballparks can make a huge difference. As my regional team, I watched Beltre play for his entire Seattle Mariners career. I would say half of his doubles at home were launched off the fences of Safeco Field. Had Beltre played in a ballpark more offensive friendly, we are talking about a player capable of hitting 30-35 HRs every year. When you add up all of the extra base hits for Beltre, he is always in the top 10-15 every year. With 2010 coming, and finishing an injury plagued 2009 campaign for the Mariners, Beltre picked his worst year for a bad season (with him set to become a free agent for the 2nd time in his career). The Boston Red Sox finally came calling with a 1-year $10 Million contract.
Adrian Beltre was an outstanding fit at hitter-friendly Fenway Park, posting remarkable numbers of a .321 AVG with 28 HRs and 103 RBIs. It was another impressive season for doubles with 49 (which led the league). This was the second 80 Extra Base hits season of his career. Some would tell you that Adrian Beltre was the MVP of the Boston Red Sox in 2010, and that his absence from the team in the 2011 year was the main reason why the Red Sox struggled to start the season before missing the playoffs on the final day of the season. Adrian Beltre took his offensive talents to Texas for 2011, signing a 6-year $96 Million Contract.
Beltre tore it up in Arlington last season. Despite missing 38 games, Beltre clubbed 32 HRs and drove in 105 RBIs while carrying an Avg of .296. Beltre continued his torrid offensive pace in the playoffs, where he even had a 3-home run game in the ALDS versus the Tampa Bay Rays! Later in the World Series, Beltre hit a home run where he fell to his knees. At age 32 and with 5 seasons left in his contract with the Texas Rangers, this slugger shows no sign of slowing down. His career numbers are already impressive at .276 with 310 HRs, 1113 RBIs and 430 doubles. If Beltre can amass another 140 HRs, 170 doubles and 390 RBIs during these upcoming years(a yearly average of 28 HRs, 34 doubles and 78 RBIs), then you are talking about a guy that will have career numbers of 450 HRs, 1500 RBIs and 600 doubles. Those statistics would garner the man some serious consideration for the Hall of Fame… and he may not even be done playing after that. Beltre should have about 2800 hits by the time he is done as well. Beltre is also known as being one of the best defensive third baseman of late, which has culminated in 3 gold gloves over the last 5 years. With Beltre’s Gold Glove potential every year, there is no reason to think he will not win a couple more of these awards.
In the end, Beltre could have historical numbers for a third baseman, surpassed by only a select few like Mike Schmidt. I think it is very important for the writers of the BBWAA to talk to all of the announcers/broadcasters of all major league teams about the potential BBHOF candidates out there, as a guy like Adrian Beltre might just slip through the cracks. Ron Santo’s 2012 induction might just be a preview to the kind of third baseman who will one day join the fraternity. If you look up Beltre’s numbers as of today, their career numbers are already eerily similar.
*** Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Doug Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***
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Posted on January 9, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged adrian beltre, baseball, chicago cubs, cooperstown, hall of fame, mlb, ron santo, texas rangers, third base. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.