We here at Getting Blanked do not suppress our fanboy love for Cardinals’ rightfielder Carlos Beltran. Despite the fact that trade unions receive less blame for the world’s ills than Beltran, he has gone about posting some truly excellent numbers in his career.
Last night, he stole his 300th career base to become just the seventh player to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases in a career; he’s the first switch hitter to accomplish the feat. He’s now hitting .301/.384/.603 so far this season, which at 35 could be his best yet if he keeps it up.
Beltran has been one of the most underrated players in the game for his entire career. Playing in the relative anonymity of Kansas City and then going to New York where the media and fans only ever seemed to focus on the negative, Beltran is often overlooked when talking about the best players of his generation.
Let’s play a little Player A/Player B:
Player A: .284/.362/.500, .374 wOBA, 10.8 BB%, 15.8 K%, 64.4 fWAR
Player B: .283/.360/.484, .371 wOBA, 10.8 BB%, 14.1 KK%, 53.8 fWAR
Player A is Beltran and Player B is former Red Sox and Angels perennial All-Star Fred Lynn; a man who should be in the Hall of Fame. In fact, since 1999, only Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones and Barry Bonds have a higher fWAR than Beltran.*
Entering the 300-300 club doesn’t guarantee entrance into the Hall of Fame. In fact, only half of the six players to achieve the feat are in the Hall—Bonds, Willie Mays and Andre Dawson. The other three—Bobby Bonds, Reggie Sanders and Steve Finley—have virtually no chance of making it. You could make the case, however, that Beltran should be a Hall of Famer once his playing days are over.
Using WAR alone can be dangerous when trying to evaluate and compare players. It’s a great catch-all metric that allows you to get a decent read on how good player was/is, but like all metrics, they are imperfect and should be taken with multiple grains of salt. Still, when using fWAR, you could argue that Beltran has been the best centerfielder of his generation. He may not have the enormous peak of Andruw Jones or the health record of Jim Edmonds, but Beltran has remained a consistently excellent player for a long, long time.
*- Seriously, you guys, Barry Bonds hasn’t played in five years and he’s still fourth on that list.
And the rest:
In case you haven’t heard, the Blue Jays are embroiled in a rather unfathomable streak of bad luck. In the last four days, three-fifths of their rotation have succumbed to injury [Christina Kahrl, ESPN SweetSpot Blog]. Last night, Drew Hutchison, who has been a sheer revelation as a 21-year-old with only a handful of starts above A-ball to his name, went down after only nine pitches (yes, the same amount that Brandon Morrow pitched before leaving his start with an oblique injury) with a UCL strain in his elbow [Andrew Stoeten, DJF]. The Jays will shut him down for a few weeks before re-evaluating. Anytime the UCL is mentioned, Tommy John’s surgery is a risk.
Toronto has called up Robert Coello to take Hutchison’s roster spot, but it’s expected that Carlos Villanueva will take his spot in the rotation.
Kyle Drabek, meanwhile, had a further MRI on his ailing elbow and a tear was discovered. It’s expected that he’ll have to undergo a second Tommy John’s surgery [Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com]. Drabek underwent the procedure back in 2007 when he was still in the Phillies’ system.
SI.com has been conducting player polls and posting slide shows with the results recently. I personally fail to see the point in such an exercise, but you know, page hits and whatnot. Anyway, today, they posted a slide show containing pictures of the 15 hardest catchers to run on in baseball according to the players. Blue Jays backup Jeff Mathis came in at number 15. Unfortunately, SI.com apparently thinks J.P. Arencibia and Mathis are the same person.
Manny Ramirez has been released by the Oakland Athletics [Dustin Parkes, Getting Blanked]. So it goes.
Why isn’t there more of a focus on the Clevelands-Pirates rivalry in Interleague Play? [Stephanie Liscio, ESPN SweetSpot Blog].
Last night’s Cardinals-Royals game had one of the craziest endings I’ve seen in a while. Sometimes terrible fielding is a good thing, apparently.
Roy Halladay is currently powered off on a mechanic’s hoist somewhere while he awaits his replacement part to arrive. It had to be shipped in from somewhere overseas and the wait time has been longer than anticipated. Still, there are signs that it could be arriving soon [Jim Salisbury, CSN Philly].
I remember the good ol’ days when umpires had to wear lettuce under caps to remain cool on a hot summer’s day [AP].
I’m currently reading Shades of Glory by Lawrence D. Hogan which is a critical history of the Negro Leagues. I’m about half way through and I can’t get over how little I know about an all-too-little talked about side of the game. It’s a fascinating read and I recommend it highly.
DJF contributor and helluva Twitter follow Bradley Ankrom teamed up with his Baseball Prospectus colleague Kevin Goldstein to talk about some prospects and a little bit about Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie and his superfluous want.
Getting Blanked contributor Matt Klaassen speculates what the Tigers might be looking to add come trade deadline time for FanGraphs