If you’re experiencing a sudden case of déjà vu, you might want to schedule a visit with a neurologist. According to Wikipedia, it could be a symptom of epilepsy. Of course, if you happened to stumble upon the Adrian Beltre article that I wrote almost a year ago to the day, that would probably account for the sense of familiarity that you’re feeling at the moment. Same series, same title. It’s not laziness. I prefer to think of it as being efficient. Yes, that sounds perfectly reasonable. We’ll go with that. But why am I writing about the Rangers third baseman yet again this season? Has his production fallen off of a cliff? Has he found the fountain of youth at age 37? Has he overcome his bizarre head-touching phobia?

The main reason that I’ve decided to reevaluate Beltre is because of his advanced age. Thirty-seven is old for a professional athlete. Very old. There’s no question that a player’s physical skills are in decline at that age, and Beltre is no exception. The most obvious difference for Beltre as he’s aged, which happens to be especially relevant from a fantasy perspective, is his power decline. He hasn’t hit 20 homers or produced a .170 ISO in a single season since 2013. Since 2010, players aged 37 and older have reached the 20 homer mark in a season just ten times, and two players (David Ortiz from 2013-15 and Raul Ibanez in ’11 and ’13) are responsible for half of those results. Batting average, a long-time strength of Beltre’s (.310 since 2010), tends to fall off as bat speed declines for these aging sluggers as well. A .275+ average has accompanied those 20+ homers just twice (Ortiz in ’13 and Jim Thome in ’10) for the qualified players in that group. Have Beltre’s .280/20 seasons come to an end? What can be expected from him for the remainder of the 2016 season?

Let’s take a look at Beltre’s profile to see if there are any indications of future performance. Here are a few observations:

He’s striking out at a career-low rate. Beltre’s current 7.6% K% would be a career best for him (career 14.2% K%) and his 6.6% SwStr% would also represent the best single-season mark of his 19 year MLB career. In fact, his strikeout rate is currently the second lowest in MLB out of 189 qualified hitters. This is largely due to the fact that…

He’s making more contact than ever. Beltre’s 86.4% Contact% this season would represent a new career high for him. Surprisingly, his 83.2% O-Contact% would easily be the highest of his career should it hold up. This is an especially encouraging sign as players tend to make less contact on pitches outside of the strike zone as they age and lose bat speed. As far as Beltre’s batted ball profile is concerned…

He’s hitting the ball in the air more often. Beltre’s 37.2% ground ball percentage is the lowest rate of his career, and his 44.8% fly ball percentage is the highest. While his 20.7% soft contact percentage is a bit on the high side, he’s hitting the ball to all fields (32.4% Oppo%) more than ever. The only other time that his Oppo% was over 30% was during his monster 2004 season (.334/48/121). This means that he’s using the whole field and that he’s extremely difficult to shift against, indicating that…

His BABIP is likely to rise. Beltre’s current .254 BABIP is well under his career average (.298), and would represent only the second time in his career that it’s been south of .273. Given that he’s hitting the ball to all fields and that his 33.8% hard hit percentage is in line with recent seasons, his BABIP should see a slight correction in the coming weeks. This is especially likely if you believe in the trend that…

He tends to be a stronger second half player. In his career, Beltre owns a .788 OPS (and .180 ISO) during the first half of the season and an .873 OPS (and .225 ISO) during the second half. After returning from a mid-season thumb injury last year, he produced an .884 OPS (.190 ISO) during the second half of 2015.

Bottom line: While Beltre is certainly in the decline phase of his career at age 37, not much seems to have changed for him. He rarely strikes out, and he seems to be making a concerted effort to hit the ball into the air more often. That might be a good thing for his power numbers as the Texas heat sets in, especially since his power seems to be in line with recent years (284.17 ft average fly ball distance in 2016; 284.59 ft and 284.52 ft in 2015 and 2014, respectively). If healthy, a .285 average with 17-18 more homers can be expected this season. Father Time will have to wait another year.

Final Verdict:

bull-cool-hd-photo-gallery

 

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
    (link)

    Seems like the hitter equivalent to your other love, Ian Kennedy (this is neither a crack nor a compliment, more of a comment, is this where you put comments?)

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @Grey: Is it? You should know! That’s fair enough. Kennedy has been a top 25-30 SP so far, and he was drafted as the #60ish SP. Beltre is probably a top 10-12ish third baseman at the moment, and was drafted as such. I just think he’ll be a top 6-7 guy moving forward.

  2. John says:
    (link)

    An owner who shuns saves in favor of holds has a dilemma with Dyson. Think I might get him at a slight bargain.

    Which side? Dyson and Valencia for Odubel and C Dick?

    I have lots of speed with Starling, Villar and Polanco. Love Odubel’s walks and average but wondering on your take on moving him for Val’s power and Dyson’s saves

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @John: It’s a fair trade. It sounds like your format has both saves and holds and categories, so that would mean that Dyson’s current value is pretty similar whether he’s closing or setting up. If you’re looking to add saves though, it’s a fine deal.

  3. J-FOH says:
    (link)

    Great work as usual. Beltre is a rare bread that has aged well. must of been all those aging enhancing drugs he takes.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @J-FOH: Whatever he’s doing, it’s working out just fine

  4. Rondo says:
    (link)

    10 Team H2H Points legaue. (only 1 point for HR)

    Pujols, Beltre and Samardjiza for Bryant and Bradley.

    Which side you going with?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @Rondo: If it’s a redraft, probably a slight edge to the Beltre side. If dynasty, Bryant side.

    • What's a Drexl? says:
      (link)

      @Rondo: that really hurts bryant in a this year pts league, right now bryant and beltre have nearly same number of at bats and beltre only down less than 10 pts on season to him. shark is the 9th SP in (at least my espn) pts league. and those league way overvalue SP.

      • What's a Drexl? says:
        (link)

        @What’s a Drexl?: and the stats i’m quoting are for pts leagues with MUCH more than 1 pt per homer, in 1 pt per homer beltre would actually be BETTER than bryant.

  5. Jeff says:
    (link)

    Hi!

    I’ve been offered Wellington Castillo (my catcher now is Martin), Corey Seager, and Joc Pederson for David Price, Jerad Eickhoff, and Eugenio Suarez. I’ll still have Sale, Strasburg, Walker, Hendricks, Tyler Duffey as starters. Should I do this? Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Jeff

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @Jeff: How many teams? Redraft or dynasty/keeper? Roto or H2H?

      • Jeff says:
        (link)

        @Big Magoo: sorry. keeper league, h2h, 12 teams

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
          (link)

          @Jeff: It looks like you can spare Price, so I’d take the Seager/Pederson side in that format.

          • Jeff says:
            (link)

            @Big Magoo: Thanks! Done!

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
              (link)

              @Jeff: Nice!

  6. Brian says:
    (link)

    In my NL Only League (5×5, OPS replaces BA), is Tyson Ross droppable? It would leave my SP staff as Cole, J-Fer, Liriano, Lester, and Velasquez, which is pretty thin.

    I could pick up Arcia or Jhonny Peralta, but I already have Crawford and Villar with SS eligibility. Others available to pick up include Jorge Soler, Darby Swanson and Zach Wheeler. Would you drop Ross for any of them? Would you drop him for a streamer the Streamator likes (Adam Morgan?).

    Or better to keep? Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @Brian: Wheeler is an interesting stash, but he’s still a little ways off. It would be an apples for apples swap for Ross. I’d hold Ross there. Try to find room to add Arcia now though.

      • Brian says:
        (link)

        Thanks. Would you drop any of the following for Arcia: Scooter Gennett, Streamer de Jour if it means giving up the Streaming Spot, Or Russ Ohlendorf? If so, which one?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
          (link)

          @Brian: I’d rather have Arcia over Ohlendorf

  7. Scott says:
    (link)

    Erick Aybar got a chicken bone stuck in his throat.

  8. Bill Madison says:
    (link)

    I got an offer to trade Beltre for Seager and $5 in next year’s auction dollars. Al only 6×6 12 teamer. Should I do this trade?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @Bill Madison: You’d get an extra $5 along with Seager then? Yeah, I’d do that deal.

  9. Scott says:
    (link)

    Get giavotella or jose ramirez off waivers or burn a waiver claim for dj lemahieu?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @Scott: I’d grab LeMahieu

  10. rick carmichael says:
    (link)

    my brantley eaton for matz mcgee?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @rick carmichael: I’d hold Brantley/Eaton there

  11. Bill collett says:
    (link)

    I found a good place for Choo …DH ! See if anyone wants Prince , If we must keep him ..3rd string 1st base .

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @Bill collett: Plenty of good DH options!

  12. FreshMeat says:
    (link)

    in 20 team dynasty league, have Lamb but could move him for a pitcher and get Beltre. Would you rather have Lamb or Beltre moving forward?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
      (link)

      @FreshMeat: I’d rather have Beltre, but it depends what else you’d have to give up (separate deal?) to make that happen

Comments are closed.