Beltre was lucky with the homeruns, unlucky with the BABIP (21.7% LDR, 27.9% of balls in play for hits, for his career average BABIP-LDR, he was expected to bat ~.290. Beltre is a consistent 3.5 wins a year player for the M's, making him a top 50 positional player well worth the salary we pay him. I think his value is essentially the same as Ichiro's value.
Q3. I continuously beat the drum about the need for a real on-field team leader. Who do you think has a chance of assuming this mantle?
A. Jose Lopez, too, is someone I feel could be a natural leader. More of a strong, silent type like Beltre. Lopez is still seen as somewhat of the baby of the bunch, but I think, once some older players clear out, he'll be viewed differently. He changed a lot, maturity-wise, this year. Really grew up and learned what it takes to be a major league ballplayer. He looks and acts like a major leaguer now, not like a kid in a uniform.
This is interesting to hear, isn't it?
Jose's game-in, game-out concentration, then, produced that .294/.327/.487 second half that would read just fine in a Miguel Tejada statline. Prorated, Jose's 2H produced 27 HR and 95 RBI per 155 games.
He's got the AB's in now, he's turning 25, and he's learning when to turn on it with loft and when to line it the other way. Looks like time to buy. 2009 should be the year in which Jose drives in 100 runs.
From a leadership standpoint, Jose's got some serious game when it comes to facing down challenges. Notice this weird split: Jose hit .310/.330/.510 last year -- at Safeco! Have you ever seen a right-handed hitter worry less about Safeco Field?
4. What is Adrian Beltre's value to the Mariners? Trade bait, or do they resign him?
[Hit Mariner Central again for one of the best parts of a great read.]
... And he's outta here. Has no interest in remaining beyond this year. There are too many things about the team and the way it's been designed that he's taken issue with and I think he knows it won't be fixed overnight.
BTW, Hardball Times just posted an interesting article in which they pointed out that Beltre's "True Home Runs" were wayyyyyyyy down in 2008 -- that Beltre's 2008 homer totally was extremely lucky. Per this metric, Adrian might be expected to hit only 8 or 9 homers in 2009 !
Beltre, in this sense, was the Anti-Dunn ... as many times as Dunn got robbed of 400-foot homers, Beltre saw cheapies just clear the fence, instead of snuggling into outfielders' mitts for frustrating fly ball outs.
Readers countered that Beltre was playing injured. Maybe.
I see Adrian Beltre as the dictionary definition of a "fine ballplayer" -- excellent defense with average-solid offense. The Seattle blog-o-sphere is therefore rapturously in love with him, and I see him as the kind of guy who is the best player on a team that loses 100 games.
No, that's too harsh. Adrian is, well, a fine ballplayer. He'd be ideal as the 6th- or 7th-best player on a team like Boston.
Hey, it's my blog, and my opinion. :- )
Now, remember, according to Hardball Times' "tHR" metric, Adrian's numbers from 2008 are inflated anyway. But here's a split for you, Beltre vs LHP and RHP in 2008:
vs LHP: .340/.421/.573
vs RHP: .239/.290/.414
Dr. Naka has pointed out in the past that Beltre tends to be a "mistake hitter" -- give him a hitter's pitch and he'll do something with it. But pitch him well, and you're not going to see as competitive at-bat. Dr. Naka is used to the Japanese way of hitting, in which a hitter prepares himself to hit quality pitches, rather than the "hope at-bat" in which a hitter prepares himself to hit lousy pitches.
I don't say the above splits are the gospel truth. But it's not a cheery sign that the easier AB's were sweet, and the tougher AB's were a writeoff.
That's a team that loses 100 games: a team that is okay with scoring runs, if you GIVE them runs. A hitter with real wide platoon splits, that's one manifestation of this principle.
Again, this sounds harsher than we mean it. Bill James pointed out that the good guys tend to be good defensive players, and Beltre exemplifies this. I just wonder whether the 2008 Mariners played to take what they wanted, or whether they just lazily took what came their way...
That Adrian is leaving, because he won't tolerate a whiny, loser-itis-infected clubhouse, is hugely to his credit. I hope that he goes back to the NL, hits 40 homers again, and enjoys the kind of career that a nice man like him deserves.
I think most people would agree with that assessment of Beltre, Kelly. He's just not quite as flashy as other high-impact players.
Ichiro sports the high BA, speed and....well, that's about it statistically. He looks fantastic in the field, so that says something also.
Beltre sports a middling BA, moderate power and is liable to make a few errors. This doesn't *look* good to the average fan.
I agree with Kelly and Jonez. I've been a Beltre basher before, but only because it crushed me that he never got close to his '04 production (which I suspected may have been steroid induced at the time).
In reality hes one of the two best players on the team along with Ichiro. We won't get better by dealing him so I hope we either resign him or get some good value out of him.