Wednesday, April 21, 2004


With Alex Rodriguez safely tucked away at 3B for the forseeable future, is Carlos Beltran ready to assume the mantle of the Greatest (mortal) Player in Baseball?

Remember back in the early 90s, when Bonds was the best power/speed/patience combo since Wilie Mays... or at least Jose Canseco?

Carlos Beltran has become that guy. And he plays damn-near Mays calibre defense in CF. Here's a quick comparo:

age 24 .248/.351/.426 (.264 GPA) 32 SB
age 25 .301/.406/.565 (.324 GPA) 52 SB
age 26 .292/.410/.514 (.313 GPA) 43 SB
age 27 .311/.456/.624 (.361 GPA) 39 SB

age 24 .306/.362/.514 (.291 GPA) 31 SB
age 25 .273/.346/.501 (.281 GPA) 35 SB
age 26 .307/.389/.522 (.306 GPA) 41 SB
age 27 .319/.492/.766 (.413 GPA) 7 SB (47 AB)

Beltran's been a notch below Bonds in discipline, but last year he took a real step forward to becoming an elite player. And so far he's mimicking Bonds in going postal on the league during his age 27 season.

What's most encouraging is that Beltran's improved walk rate this year seems to be a deliberate strategy on his part. Beltran's 90th percentile PETCO forcast looks something like .335/.415/.591, and even that seems low as upsides go. It's unlikely he'll keep slugging over .700 come September, but if his OBP is still over .420, look out.

David Cameron thinks the Mariners can snag Beltran from the Royals for some pitching, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that Baird will hold on to his prize until the bitter end. As long as the Twins are being run by morons, the AL Central is up for grabs, and Baird refueled this off-season knowing it. Expect the increasingly canny Baird to follow Beane's lead: he'll keep Beltran until the end of the season, try to work a long-term deal slightly under market value, offer arbitration, and collect the draft picks if Beltran signs elsewhere. Yes, David DeJesus is ready to step in in CF, but wouldn't he look even better playing LF at Beltran's side?

Meanwhile, I'm starting to think Magglio Ordonez will finish the year with the Giants. Come on, Sabean must realise by now that even a 2.000 OPS Bonds can't power the Giants lineup single-handedly (the team is 3-5 over Bonds' amazing 7 game homer streak). Maggs would be a great RH bat behind Barry to curb the intentional passes, and he still plays a mean RF. I'm not sure Kenny Williams can come to terms with what Ordonez wants, and with Carlos Lee already signed in LF, I think Jeremy Reed is ready to step in RF. Sabean doesn't seem particularly attached to any of his young pitching, and could offer a quality arm like Merkin Valdez in return.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?