Originally written on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 11/19/14

Key Stats: What a strange career path Adrian Beltre’s bat has taken. He cashed in on a second place MVP finish at age 25 that many folks believe was a byproduct of steroids and headed to Seattle where he regressed tremendously for five seasons. Then he came to Boston and had another impossible to predict rise in production. Taking a stance on him last year was like taking a stance on a college football team in the state of Alabama. You either had to be a believer or you weren’t. Playing the middle ground meant that he wasn’t going to be on your team. He followed up on his great season in Boston with another in Texas – even after the contract was signed.

Looking at his splits, I’m actually a believer that Beltre was hindered by the friendly pitching conditions in Seattle. During his time with the Mariners, he hit 9 more home runs on the road and had a better road OPS all five seasons. Having spent the past two seasons in hitter friendly parks, Beltre has thrived – especially last year when his OPS was more than .300 better in Arlington.

Skeptics Say: Beltre is going to be 33 years old this season which makes the 37 games he missed last year with a hamstring injury a little scary. Beltre also had hamstring problems with the Red Sox in 2010 (although he never needed to go on the DL), so this is something that could obviously continue to plague him.

Peer Comparison: Perhaps the only third baseman that has taken a stranger career path than Beltre is David Wright. If we go back to the start of the 2009 season the choice between Wright and Beltre was easier than choosing between a rat or a puppy for a pet. The two players three averages heading into that season looked like this:






















Wright was also four years younger. Looking at the numbers from the last two years (last two is better because it throws out Beltre’s Seattle days) and you would think that Beltre was the youthful one:






















Despite these numbers, I’d still endorse Wright as the better third baseman in fantasy next season. Just on those two year average stats, Wright was worse in five out of the six categories, but the gap between the two players was greatest in steals. If we consider that Wright was the better player when you combine steals, home runs, and runs the idea that Wright is better seems a little more reasonable. Then again, the gaps are still huge between the two players.

Wright still is in the prime age of his career (though it won’t be his actual prime) and had a more serious injury to deal with than Beltre last season. I like Wright to recover better from his back injury and to stay on the field more this season. Though it is extremely close between the two players.

Lineup Outlook: Beltre hit clean up last year for most of the season and should end up there again this year. Then again, the Rangers are never healthy including Beltre, so things can always get shuffled. Regardless, Beltre will hit somewhere between third through fifth (even if Nelson Cruz is on one of those streaks). He is in prime position to have triple digit RBI if he can stay healthy.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #4 Third Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #3 Third Baseman & #27 Overall; Yahoo: #3 Third Baseman & #26 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP:  #3 Third Baseman & #30 Overall; RotoChamp: #61 Overall

Projection: I keep thinking that Wright will regain a little of his old form. And every year I’m wrong. Except this one. Wright will continue the trend of a lower strikeout rate and have his BABIP bumped just a little.
84 R 24 HR 92 RBI 22 SB .290 AVG .870 OPS

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Who won the LeSean McCoy trade?

50 Cent bets $1.6M on Mayweather beating Pacquiao

Wizards apologize for odd Black History Month tribute

Report: McCoy may want more money from Bills

Andre Johnson laughed upon hearing he wouldn't start


Brad Stevens: LeBron 'looks like the MVP to me'

Le'Veon Bell tees off on Mel Kiper Jr. over Twitter

Eagles ship LeSean McCoy to Bills for Kiko Alonso

Murray would reportedly give Cowboys hometown discount

Report: Giants ‘considering a run’ at Ndamukong Suh

Darnell Dockett reportedly visiting 49ers on Tuesday

Murray State pitcher’s leg kick is entirely out of hand

Panthers sign emergency goalie during game due to injuries

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Columbus Zoo names newborn penguin after Ezekiel Elliott

Matt Barnes blasts NBA over James Harden suspension

Joe Rogan: Ronda Rousey could beat half the men

Bills tell C.J. Spiller he won't be re-signed

Ohio State self-reported funny NCAA violation

Lupul, Phaneuf, Cuthbert threaten lawsuit against TSN

Report: Adrian Peterson has trade list of five preferred teams

Murphy disagrees with Billy Bean’s homosexual 'lifestyle'

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Tim Lincecum’s last best chance

Ten most underrated players in the NBA

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.