Really a super solid career. I’m kind of a little embarrassed how surprised I was at just what a great career he had.
While less so on SSI and Dr. DetectoVision, Adrian Beltre and the value of his service often stimulated debate. Now that he has retired, it is fun to assess his impact as a player. Pulling up Fangraphs, Adrian Beltre is sandwiched between Chipper Jones and Joe Dimaggio in 33rd place ALL-TIME for position players with 84.4 WAR. At baseball-reference it's 26th place with 95.6 WAR (they calculate defensive runs saved differently I believe). Now it took Adrian an extra 1,200 games to generate the career value Joltin' Joe created, but that is still some impression company to keep.
Adrian achieved this value through (1) longevity -- he was an above average major leaguer at 20 and at 38, (2) sustained defensive excellence, and being a very good hitter everywhere but Safeco field. Defensively, he is rated the 27th most valuable player in baseball history (as judged by runs saved versus an average player and positional value) and the 256th best offensive player (as judged by runs created above average) or 492nd as judged by OPS+.
As for hitting in Seattle, his lifetime OPS was 0.714 at Safeco (0.253/0.307/0.407)compared to a career OPS of 0.836 (0.292/0.344/0.492) everywhere else.
As a last observation, The Purple Pirate over at Lonnie's message board was convince Adrian failed under pressure and there used to be some 'entertaining discussions' on the topic with the Pirate on one side and SABRMatt on the other. So I was curious what the win probability added statistics showed about his clutch hitting (it doesn't include clutch fielding). The statistic goes back to 1974 at Fangraphs. Since 1974, Adrian Beltre is 106th in runs created above average and 141st in win probability added. So maybe Adrian wasn't the most clutch hitter ever, but he performed about how you would expect.
- Drb Kelly
One other thing. Until his final two seasons at age 38 and 39 he was one of those players that allow a manager to simply cross off a position from his list of concerns for an entire season. Durability is huge.
Beltre hit what might be the hardest hit ball I every personally witnessed. At Safeco against the Red Sox he "fired" a laser beam off the upper deck facade in center field. The ball slammed into the facade in the blink of an eye with a low, nearly direct trajectory. If I may mix metaphors, I remember that at the time I got the impression of a literal cannon shot.
Yo Adrian, hat's off to ya.
Still thinking of ya, Doc, even if you're not able to post.