Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/7/13
I had the pleasure of owning Carlos Beltran last year — in July and August. In April, May, and June, Beltran was a slugging machine. By the time July 1 had come rolling around, Beltran had a .310/.396/.576 slash line with 20 homers and 61 RBI. His strikeout rate had fallen every month, and he was simply clobbering the ball. It was around this time I decided my outfield needed a little more pop and that Adam Wainwright was expendable to attain it. Beltran promptly went into a tailspin, batting just .206 (40-for-194) in July and August with eight homers and 24 RBI. His strikeout rates jumped to over 20% from a season low of 13.9% in June, and his walk rate immediately fell to just 4.4% in July after hovering around 11% for the first three months. Of course, I stuck with Beltran for most of July and August, benching him in the latter part of the stretch before all-out dropping him at the very beginning of September. Well wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly when Beltran got going again! Despite the trouble I had owning the St. Louis slugger last year, the good news is that he stayed on the field for 151 games after three mostly injury-plagued seasons from 2009-2011 (though his 142 games played in 2011 is pretty good, too). It took a 19.9% HR/FB rate for Beltran to hit those 32 homers with 97 RBI, and I wouldn’t expect that rate, his highest since 2006, to stick around in 2013. Overall, though, Beltran gave us plenty of reasons to put him on a shortlist of boring, old guys to draft. At a Glance Strengths: RBI, OBP, SLG, OPS Neutral: R, BA, HR, SB Weaknesses: health Player Comparisons Best-case scenario: Allen Craig (STL) Likely scenario: Hunter Pence (SF), Nelson Cruz (TEX), Nick Swisher (CLE) Worst-case scenario: injured or Andre Ethier (LAD) Carlos Beltran 2013 Fantasy Projection We’re going to assume fairly good health here, projecting Beltran for 140 games, but Beltran is a threat to go down at any time. Assuming moderate health, Beltran is slated to bat fourth for the Cardinals, so I’ll admit our projected 74 RBI might be a bit low. Overall this was intended to be a safe projection for a player who could just as easily have 54 RBI as he is to have 94, so 74 is a nice compromise. That said, we may decide to raise that projection. We haven’t completely decided yet. Last year Beltran’s overall 20.0% strikeout rate was a career worst, which isn’t a very good sign for his batting average in 2013. While our xBA equation suggests Beltran should have posted a .296 BA last year (despite the high strikeout rate) due to a 20.4% line drive rate and his slight ground ball tendency, the rise in strikeouts worries me. Beltran is currently going 111th overall on MockDraftCentral.com, which is right in line with our ranking here. If we do in fact decide to add more RBI to his final projection, Beltran will probably jump up to around 85-90 overall, and that would make him a pretty solid draft day value. In OBP leagues I would feel confident going higher on him seeing as his career OBP (.360) is pretty darn good, and he’s a better player in roto leagues than H2H where a sudden injury could burn you. Tweet
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