by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
A player who will turn 39-years old early in the 2018 campaign is often not a hot commodity on draft day. That said an asset and is an asset and we don’t want to overlook anyone who could provide value. Enter Adrian Beltre, who remained productive in 2017 when on the field (injury limited him to 94 games):
340 At Bats
.312 Batting Average (106 Hits)
17 Home Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.383 On Base Percentage
.532 Slugging Percentage
.321 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Outside of his age, what is there not to like about the numbers? Maybe Beltre will start to break down physically, though prior to last season there had never been an indication of that. In fact 2017 was the first time since 2011 that he had failed to appear in at least 140 games and the first time since his rookie year of 1998 that he didn’t appear in at least 110. With health not a significant question, what about the production?
Beltre is a career .287 hitter, though he’s now hit .296 or better in seven of the past eight years (never below .287 and six years of .300 or better). It’s clear he can hit, and while you may want to point towards a 19.7% line drive rate his .321 BABIP wasn’t unreasonable and he continues to make consistent contact (7.9% SwStr%, 13.4% strikeout rate). Maybe he falls short of .300, but he’s a near lock to hit .290 (and likely better).
The next question is going to be regarding his power, having looked like he had lost it a few years back (37 HR between 2014 and 2015). However, he’s now shown that he hasn’t in back-to-back seasons (HR/FB):
- 2016 – 14.6%
- 2017 – 15.6%
We also would love to point towards the home ballpark as the reason for his power, but that hasn’t been the case. Over the past two seasons he’s hit 49 home runs, with more coming on the road (28) than at home (21).
He’s surrounded by a solid lineup, including Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo. That should provide ample opportunity to drive in runs, and he should be able to score enough as well. In other words Beltre profiles as a solid, four category producer who others may be ignoring based solely on his age.
If you are looking for a long-term solution you are going to be looking at other options. For 2018, though, there’s little reason not to believe that Beltre will be a productive option once again. Let others make the mistake of discounting him due to his age and capitalize on the price drop.
Source – Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: