by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Carlos Beltran’s debut season in the Bronx was certainly a bitter disappointment. Expected to be one of the anchors of the middle of the lineup, he instead floundered hitting .233 with 15 HR over 403 AB. There is no doubt an elbow injury, which required repeated cortisone shots and offseason surgery, played a role in his performance. The question is, what can we expect moving forward?
The fact is Beltran actually got off to a solid start, hitting .263 with 5 HR and 13 RBI over 95 April AB. In May, when he was held to just 33 AB, is when things really went off track.
He still finished with a HR/AB if 26.9, not a significant regression off his 23.1 mark in 2013 (when he hit 24 HR for St. Louis) or 23.6 from 2011. Throw in playing half his games at Yankee Stadium, where he hit 11 of his 2014 home runs, and there is a lot to like from the power department.
As long as he stays healthy, which is a question for any player his age, there’s no reason to think 22-26 HR isn’t his floor in 2015.
With that, as well as improvements from the rest of the lineup, there’s every reason to believe he will rebound in the RBI department as well. He’s going to hit in the middle of the Yankee lineup, which should yield RBI opportunities. Think 80ish, at a minimum, with 90+ not out of the question.
Beltran struggled to hit the ball with authority last season, with a 16.5% line drive rate helping lead to a .252 BABIP. That hasn’t been the norm, however. Just look at the previous few seasons:
- 2011 – 21.1%
- 2012 – 20.4%
- 2013 – 23.9%
In April he was at a reasonable 18.5%, so it’s easy to chalk the issue up to the injury. With a solid strikeout rate (17.8% in 2014), it’s fair to assume an improvement in his average as well. A career .280 hitter, you’d think .265 would be his floor given his power potential and other numbers.
Like with the RBI, the improvement here will also lead to improved runs scored. He’s been between 78 and 83 the previous three seasons, and that type of range is a fair assumption once again.
The bottom line with Beltran? As long as he’s healthy he’s going to produce a solid line that any fantasy owner should be looking to target. While others may be scared off by his poor 2014 or his age, at a low-level investment he should pay dividends.
Source – Fangraphs