Tag: Adrian Beltre

Ageless Wonder Adrian Beltre Leading Charge for AL-Best Rangers

Time waits for no man. It’s mean like that. It’s even meaner to baseball players, systematically robbing them of their skills as they drift further from their youth.

Except for Adrian Beltre, who’s playing like he’s 37 going on 27.

It feels like Beltre has been lost in the shuffle in the Texas Rangers‘ rise to the top of the American League in 2016, but he’s been creeping back into the spotlight since the All-Star break. The creeping continued in a 12-4 thumping of the Houston Astros on Saturday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Beltre pitched in three hits, including his 439th career home run.

So it goes for Beltre in the second half. He was just OK in the first half, hitting .281 with a .778 OPS and 12 homers. But since the break, he’s hit .311 with a .985 OPS and 14 homers. The veteran third baseman has been among the American League’s top hitters.

Just like that, a season that once seemed ticketed for mediocrity is now looking a lot like the other five seasons Beltre’s given the Rangers since he arrived in 2011. He averaged an .872 OPS and 27 homers in the first five. He now has an .852 OPS and 26 homers in 2016.

It would’ve been understandable if Beltre had never gotten to this point. After all, his modest first half came on the heels of a modest age-36 season last year, in which he OPS’d just .788 with 18 homers.

Plus, we know what the usual aging curves say about the progression of offensive skills over time. Per research offered by Jeff Zimmerman at Beyond the Box Score in 2011, hitters normally peak in their mid-to-late 20s and are well below their peaks by the time they hit their late 30s. By all rights, Beltre should be an Albert Pujols-like shell of his former self.

But he’s not. And it’s not as if we’re watching a guy who’s gotten hot because he’s getting little dinkers and duck snorts to fall in.

Compared to the first half, Beltre’s second half has seen him improve an already strong contact habit and make better contact through a higher launch angle and more exit velocity (per Baseball Savant):

This is number-y nerdspeak for stating the obvious: Beltre is locked in.

He usually is in the second half. He has a career .857 OPS after the break, compared to .783 before the break. More specifically, he’s at his best in August and September. 

“I think he is a player who smells the playoffs,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “The desire to win and advance is what he plays for. Playoff races and opportunities sharpen great players and heighten their drive. That’s why you see great players do great things at big moments.”

Another thing that’s not out of the ordinary is the excellent glovework Beltre is providing at the hot corner. Defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating both rate him as one of baseball’s elite defensive third basemen. Since these metrics are now taken into account in the voting, it’s possible his Gold Glove collection will grow from four to five this winter.

It’s unlikely any of this will garner Beltre American League MVP attention. Nonetheless, it shouldn’t be lost on what he means to the Rangers. They wouldn’t be much worse than their 82-54 record without him, but wins above replacement confirms he’s been by far their best everyday player:

  1. Adrian Beltre: 4.9
  2. Ian Desmond: 3.1
  3. Rougned Odor: 2.2

From where he is now, Beltre is a lock for another 5-WAR season. That would give him 10 of those since 2004, more than any other player.

To boot, seven of these 10 seasons will have come since Beltre’s age-31 season in 2010. Aging curves and rational logic insist that’s not supposed to happen, and it’s not like third basemen have a history of being exempt from the rule. Once Beltre crosses the 5-WAR threshold this season, he’ll become the only third baseman in history to collect as many as seven such seasons past the age of 31.

This will be just the latest feather in the cap of a career that will merit consideration for not just induction into the Hall of Fame, but also induction on Beltre’s first ballot when his time comes. Cooperstown is picky with third basemen, but WAR rates him has one of the five best to ever play the hot corner.

The one thing missing from Beltre’s career is a World Series ring. He came close to winning one in 2011, hitting .300 with an .889 OPS in a World Series the Rangers (famously) lost in seven games. He’s played in only four postseason games since then, including three in last year’s American League Division Series against the Toronto Blue Jays in which he was badly beaten up.

But now, Beltre’s red-hot bat is just another reason to like the Rangers’ chances of getting it done this season. He’s part of a deep lineup that can do it all. Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish are a deadly one-two punch in the Rangers’ starting rotation. In their bullpen is a parade of hard-throwers no team will want to face in October.

Beltre will need to defy age for a couple of more months to see the Rangers’ quest through to the end. But hey, since he’s already made it this far…


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Adrian Beltre Contract: Latest News and Rumors on Negotiations with Rangers

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday the team has engaged in contract extension negotiations with third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Continue for updates.

Beltre, Rangers Engaged in Talks Pre-Spring Training

Monday, Jan. 11

Greg Tepper of Fox Sports Southwest reported on Daniels’ comments, which were made in an interview on MLB Network. Beltre, 36, is headed into the final season of his six-year, $96 million contract. He’s slated to make $18 million as part of a club option Texas picked up last February.

While still among the best players at his position, Beltre may be in his weakest negotiating spot of the entire contract. He hit .287/.334/.453 with 18 home runs and 83 RBI last season, his worst across-the-board numbers since arriving in 2011. His 4.6 wins above replacement was more than a win drop from 2014 and was saved only by a better-than-expected defensive season, per FanGraphs.

The Rangers can also point out that Beltre will be nearing his 40th birthday on whatever contract he signs next. There is little reason to give him a raise from his current salary, and it may even be in Texas’ best interest to push for a de-escalating contract.

That said, Beltre still ranked sixth at his position in WAR last season and remains a bastion of consistency. His defensive ability is remarkable for a player in his mid-30s, and the wear-and-tear on his body at third isn’t so bad that we should expect a massive atrophy. A slight regression should be expected on the defensive side—his production was his highest since 2009 in that area—but that could be negated by an uptick at the plate.

Projecting him as a four-win player over the course of the contract would put his average annual salary well past the $20 million range. Texas may be getting a bargain if it can keep Beltre at his current rate, and it would be smart to use his age against him in negotiations.

Then again, Beltre has bet big on himself in the past and reaped the rewards. His risky one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2010 paid big dividends when he landed the big Rangers contract he’s soon finishing. If Beltre thinks he can get more money on the open market by waiting things out, he will.


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Adrian Beltre Injury: Updates on Rangers 3B’s Back and Return

The Texas Rangers may have suffered a serious loss early in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, as star third baseman Adrian Beltre was taken out after suffering a back injury following an at-bat in the third inning. 

He was not in the Rangers’ lineup for Game 2, but manager Jeff Banister hadn’t ruled the third baseman out of potentially pinch-hitting, per Jason Beck of MLB.com.

Continue for updates.   

Beltre Could ‘Barely Move’ During Game 1

Thursday, Oct. 8

Beltre was diagnosed with a back strain, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who added there was no structural damage.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted the Rangers were astonished he was able to swing a bat and drive in a run, given his state. “Assistant GM Thad Levine guessed Beltre had one swing in him. And we saw it,” Rosenthal reported.

According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Beltre could “barely move” as he was standing behind second base between innings at the Rogers Centre. Gordon Edes of ESPN.com noted the All-Star third baseman was emotional after he came out of the contest. Also from Edes, who cited Texas Rangers public relations man John Blake, Beltre was initially injured following a first-inning slide into second base. 

Beltre lined an RBI single to center field in the third inning off Toronto starter David Price to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead, but he essentially waddled to first base because of the injury. 

How Beltre’s Injury Would Impact Rangers

The Rangers have battled their way into the postseason despite injuries all year, but Beltre’s absence could be devastating if he has to miss extended time. The 36-year-old finished the season on fire, hitting 10 of his 18 home runs between August and October. 

Texas does have solid depth with Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder surrounding Beltre in the lineup, but it will be impossible to replace his value offensively and defensively. Hanser Alberto stepped in for Beltre during Game 1.

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Uninterrupted: Adrian Beltre on the Key to a Barehanded Catch

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Uninterrupted: Adrian Beltre Talks Upcoming Series with Angels

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Interested fans get a unique perspective that brings them closer than ever to the personalities they care about.

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Adrian Beltre Hits for Cycle vs. Astros: Stats, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Adrian Beltre needed all of five innings to hit for a cycle Monday night against the Houston Astros. The Texas Rangers third baseman picked up a triple in the first inning, a double in the second, a single in the third and capped things off with a solo home run in the fifth.

The Rangers posted a GIF of the four hits in succession:

The highlight below offers a better look at Beltre’s homer to left:

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Beltre is just the third player in MLB history to hit for three different cycles over his career. The last time it happened was in 1933.

Globe Life Park tends to favor hitters, which is a factor in this stat from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Jeff Wilson:

Given his achievement, this is a great time to appreciate how consistent Beltre has been over his 18-year career. You don’t generally see players at his position consistently produce both offensively and defensively over a period of so many years.

Beltre has captured the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards four times each while making the All-Star Game on four occasions as well.

At the very least, the 36-year-old belongs in the discussion for the Hall of Fame once he calls it a career. Baseball America‘s Ben Badler put into perspective the totality of Beltre’s work:

According to Jay Jaffe’s JAWS metric, which is used to help measure a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy, Beltre is the sixth-best third baseman of all time, ahead of Brooks Robinson, Ron Santo and Paul Molitor, all of whom are enshrined in Cooperstown.

Beltre may be having his worst offensive season since his injury-shortened 2009 campaign, but his cycle Monday night was a reminder of his immense talent. He finished the night 4-for-5, and the Rangers won 12-9 to improve their record to 52-53.

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Beltre Becomes 52nd Player with 400 Career Home Runs

Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre became the 52nd member of the 400 home run club when he hit a solo shot off Cleveland Indians pitcher Bruce Chen in the first inning of Friday’s game at Globe Life Park in Arlington, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder had just hit a two-run homer to tie the game at two apiece, and Beltre followed with a deep line drive over the center field fence to go back-to-back with his teammate.

The 36-year-old third baseman later added a double in the third inning, but the Rangers couldn’t muster any runs after the opening frame, eventually falling by a score of 8-3.

Typically one of the more consistent players in baseball, Beltre is off to an unusually slow start this season, with just five home runs and 13 RBI through 36 games, along with a modest .250 batting average and .291 on-base percentage.

He is still one of just seven players born in the Dominican Republic to reach 400 career home runs, joining Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero and Alfonso Soriano, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Beltre should have a solid case for the Hall of Fame either way, but if he can eventually reach 500 career home runs, he’d be a lock to get in.

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Adrian Beltre’s Leap into 400 HR Club Caps Legitimate Hall of Fame Resume

By launching the 400th home run of his impressive career Friday, Adrian Beltre furthered, if not solidified, his understated but already strong Hall of Fame credentials.

The Texas Rangers lost 8-3 to the Cleveland Indians, but their third baseman became just the 52nd player ever to reach the 400-home run mark, putting him in some pretty impressive company. Next on the list? Hall of Famer Duke Snider with 407.

Beltre, a 36-year-old veteran of 18 big league seasons, is getting up there in age and has been around a long time, but he often has been overlooked as one of the best players of his generation—and one who has put together a resume worthy of Cooperstown.

For his career, Beltre is a .284/.336/.478 hitter. That might not seem especially Hall-worthy at first glance, but consider that it’s good for an OPS+ of 115, meaning he has been 15 percent better than league average on offense, once adjusted for era and ballparks.

Beltre also has 2,641 base hits, putting him just 359 shy of 3,000, a number he should reach before the end of the 2017 season, provided he remains healthy and active. With five more, he will tie Jimmie Foxx for 75th in history.

Of those knocks, 535 have been doubles, putting him one ahead of none other than Lou Gehrig for 37th-most all-time.

As for RBI? Beltre has 1,397 of those to date, tying him with Miguel Cabrera for 76th overall.

So just in terms of certain aspects of offense, Beltre occupies the same space as Snider, Foxx, Gehrig and Cabrera—three inner-circle Hall of Famers and one who will be five years after retirement. With a little more context, it’s clear Beltre has indeed put himself among some impressive company with his bat.

Just for fun, here’s another Hall of Fame name-dropping tidbit from Cody Stavenhagen of MLB.com:

Beltre … is also one of the greatest power-hitting third basemen in the history of baseball. Beltre is now one of only four players to spend at least 75 percent of his career at the hot corner and hit 400 homers.

The others?

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (548), Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews (512) and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chipper Jones (468).

All of the above is remarkable, and yet none of it factors in arguably Beltre’s forte—his defense at the hot corner.

A superb glove man known for his athleticism, range, quick actions and elite arm, Beltre ranks 22nd in history in defensive wins above replacement (WAR), according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The same site puts Beltre at 78.6 career WAR, an all-encompassing metric that measures every aspect of baseball from offense to defense to baserunning. Beltre’s total ranks No. 40 among position players—ever.

FanGraphs has Beltre worth 71.0 career WAR, which puts him 47th all-time for position players.

On top of all that, Beltre has played in four All-Star Games, won as many Gold Gloves and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting—you guessed it—four times.

That said, Beltre did endure his share of struggles, many of which oddly came in the middle of his career.

Following his monstrous walk year in 2004—he established career highs with a .334 average, 48 homers and 121 RBI—with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the organization that signed him as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, Beltre landed a five-year, $64 million deal with the Seattle Mariners.

From there, what should have been his prime was swallowed by Safeco Field for five years. While he wasn’t at all bad with the Mariners, his career totals would be that much better right now if not for spending a handful of seasons in that pitcher’s paradise.

That was part of why Beltre, heading into his age-31 campaign in 2010 had to settle for a pillow contract with the Boston Red Sox for $10 million over just one season. A big bounce-back season put him back on the market a year later, which is how he signed his six-year, $96 million pact with the Rangers.

Speaking of the Rangers, manager Jeff Banister had this to say of Beltre, per Stavenhagen, after No. 400 was in the books Friday: “I believe he’s a Hall of Famer, no matter what the argument is on the other side.”

If you’re one of those on the other side who still has some doubts over Beltre’s Cooperstown credentials, know that the Rangers already picked up his club option for 2016 during spring training this past February. That gives him a season and three-quarters—at least—to rack up some more statistics.

And bolster his case for the Hall of Fame even further.


Statistics are accurate as of Friday, May 15, and courtesy of MLB.com,Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter:@JayCat11.

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Elvis Andrus Is Tormenting Adrian Beltre with Head Taps Again

Like the real-life Family Guy chicken fight, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre remain locked in an unending battle of wits and reflexes.

Specifically, Andrus really likes touching Beltre’s head, because it irritates the Texas Rangers third baseman to no end, and at this point, he’s been doing it for so long that stopping would be unnatural and wrong.

The latest installment of the Great Beltre Head Tap Wars occurred Monday night during the Rangers’ 8-2 manhandling of the Kansas City Royals. In the bottom of the fourth, Beltre knocked a two-run dinger over the right field wall to give Texas a 6-1 lead.

It marked the 399th career home run for the 36-year-old, and Beltre faced a predictable flurry of head taps from Andrus and company when he returned to the dugout.

As the sportscasters noted, it really is only a matter of time, guys.

One day it will be a bad day—a day when Beltre wakes up late, his deodorant breaks in half, and he reflexively punches Andrus in the neck when the touch of a clammy hand graces his head.

It’s a “when” situation more than an “if,” and I only hope the cameras catch every second in slow motion:

Best friends are the worst.


Dan is on Twitter. Buff the Beltre at your own risk.

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Adrian Beltre Sent Invoice for $300 to Garrett Richards for 3 Broken Bats

Adrian Beltre is a good baseball player and a better businessman.

On Friday, the Texas Rangers third baseman shattered three bats while squaring off against Garrett Richards, a 26-year-old flame-thrower from the Los Angeles Angels.

Beltre doesn’t care that he’s made a whopping $165 million over the course of his 18-year career. He still wants compensation from the reliever.

Get that money, Beltre. Rihanna would be proud.


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