Subject: Adrian Perez Beltre
Age/Born: 25/April 7, 1979
Career 162 Game Averages:
.274/.332/.463, 25 HR, 86 RBI, 99 K, 48 BB, 76 R, 30-2B
Beltre broke out in a big way in 2004 after five seasons of somewhat disappointing progress. The 25-year-old set career numbers in every major category and finished second in the National MVP voting to Barry Bonds after leading the big leagues in home runs. Contrary to what most believe, Beltre's light bulb did not flip this season- it was switched on the final 30 games of 2003 when the Dominican Republic native hit .305 over the final month.
No longer are pitchers able to count on an impatient Beltre to get himself out. Prior to the last month of '03, Beltre would chase breaking pitches away and fastballs up and in, and seemingly was trying to hit the fairy tale five-run home run when the Dodgers were in need of a big rally. Since the turnaround, Beltre is more patient, lays off the sliders in the dirt and makes pitchers pay fro falling behind in the count.
With good power to every part of the yard, Beltre sprays extra-base hits all over the field and is learning to take a walk. Only twice in his career has he struck out more than 100 times and making solid, consistent contact is something Beltre has always done, making him a hit-and-run candidate.
As goes Beltre's bat, goes the slugger's glove as well. Beltre was stellar in the field in 2004 after a few lackluster seasons. At times Beltre was as good of a third baseman as there was in the National League, behind only the incomparable Scott Rolen. With solid footwork, good range and a more than capable throwing arm, Beltre is a borderline Gold Glove caliber defender who is an asset at the hot corner. Add in pretty good hands and the ability to charge slow rollers and bunts and you have Jeff Cirillo-with a good stick.
Beltre isn't going to blind anyone with his speed but can steal a base here and there. After adding 20-25 pounds of muscle since 2000, the 5-11 Beltre is more of an opportunistic baserunner but isn't prone to blunders on the base paths. One thing you won't see with Beltre is a hesitant runner who moves station to station. He likes to be aggressive between second base and home plate, reminding some of a healthy Magglio Ordonez.
The Five Tool Watch:
Scout's Grading Scale
Hitting for Average: 60
Hitting for Power: 70
Avg: .334 in 2004
OBP: .388 in 2004
Slg: .629 in 2004
HR: 48 in 2004
RBI: 121 in 2004
Runs: 104 in 2004
2B: 32 in 2004
3B: 5 in 1999, 2002
H: 200 in 2004
BB: 61 in 1999
SO: 105 in 1999
GM: 159 in 2002
What to Expect in 2005:
Beltre will likely hit third at third for the M's in 2005, as part of the best 3-4 combo since Alex Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez in 2000. It might be too much to expect a repeat of 2004 for Beltre next season but he has obviously turned the corner and is a different hitter than the player that couldn't reach the 100 RBI mark for five years at the start of his career. Beltre will have no problems exceeding 100 RBI in '05, especially with Ichiro and either Jeremy Reed or Randy Winn hitting in front of him. With Richie Sexson protecting him in the order, Beltre will get pitches to hit and could easily approach 35 home runs. Though he may not hit .334 again, something right around the .300 mark isn't out of the question.
Manning the hot corner for 150+ games is a huge aspect of the addition of Beltre. Being able to count on one player to hit in the three-hole and play third base is a huge weight off the shoulders of the rest of the roster. Beltre will contend for a Gold Glove but probably fall short to the more polished Eric Chavez or the bigger named Alex Rodriguez.
.294/.375/.572, 36 HR, 114 RBI
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The Diamond Report: 3B Adrian Beltre
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