Posted tagged ‘Carlos Beltran’

Carlos Beltran out of New York but is he the 2nd greatest Mets hitter of all time?

July 30, 2011

This is an interesting article written by Matt Meyers of ESPN Magazine discussing Beltran’s success in New York compared to other Mets players. It’s a good read…

Via ESPN New York:

Carlos Beltran has a gift. It’s the gift of effortlessness, the ability to do the spectacular while appearing to barely break a sweat. Problem is, that gift comes with some serious baggage.

If you spend any amount of time listening to local sports radio — which is usually a decent proxy for the typical fan — you know that there is a large section of New York Mets fans who perceive Beltran’s smooth style as indifference, and view the called Strike 3 he took in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS as a microcosm of his passive approach to the game.

That perception, coupled with the expectations that came with Beltran’s $119 million contract, led some to believe that Beltran isn’t all he was cracked up to be.

Now that he has been traded to the San Francisco Giants, it’s time to reflect on Beltran’s legacy. Though some will say he was never worth the money, his production says he is among the best players in franchise history. In reality, he lived up to that contract as well as could have been expected and became the Mets’ most productive player since Darryl Strawberry.

In some ways, this isn’t a particularly controversial statement; the Mets haven’t exactly been churning out superstar players over the past two decades. The only other players who are seriously in the conversation are David Wright and, of course, Mike Piazza. While many would concede that Beltran was a better player than Wright during his Mets tenure, it’s much tougher to convince Mets fans that Beltran had a better career with the team than Piazza did.

If you head to Baseball Reference and check out the Mets’ career leaders for wins above replacement — which measures hitting, defense and baserunning — you’ll see that Strawberry is the franchise leader, Beltran is second and Wright is just behind him.

Piazza? He’s No. 8, despite the fact that he had 300 more plate appearances with the Mets than Beltran did. This is relevant because WAR is a counting stat, so more playing time should, theoretically, mean a higher WAR, and explains why Mookie Wilson ranks ahead of John Olerud. It also explains why the gap between Beltran and Wright is even larger than it looks. Despite the fact that Wright was called up to the big leagues half a season before Beltran signed with the Mets, Beltran still has him beat.

You may not put much faith in WAR, and while there are year-to-year quirks, it’s useful for judging player performance over a number of seasons. (For example, the top five players in baseball history are Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays and Cy Young. Not bad, right?)

So why does Beltran rate so much higher than Piazza? There’s a couple of reasons. For starters, although they both played premium positions, Beltran played his very well. He also had great value as a baserunner, succeeding on 100 of his 116 steal attempts during his career in New York. Lastly, after a poor first season with the Mets, Beltran has performed like a superstar ever since. In fact, his 151 OPS+ this year is the highest of his career, even higher than his 2006 season.

Piazza, on the other hand, finished out his Mets career with three mediocre seasons at the plate while supplying no defensive or baserunning value. And if you want to talk about peak value, forget it. As good as Piazza was, nothing he did compared to Beltran’s 2006 season, when he set the team record with 41 homers while posting a .982 OPS and playing stellar defense in center.

Bill James once wrote that players who do one thing really well are typically overrated, while those with a broad set of skills are usually underrated, and Beltran most certainly falls into the latter category. Much of his greatness is subtle, such as his fantastic defense and baserunning.

You want to knock him for his injuries? That’s understandable. But keep in mind that he is one of just five Mets to ever play in 161 or more games in a season. And when he was on the field, he always produced like the star he was paid to be.

Sure, he struck out to end the 2006 NLCS, but is it his fault that Billy Wagner gave up the go-ahead home run to light-hitting So Taguchi in Game 2 of that series? Or that the Mets started John Maine, Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez in five of the seven games? It’s easy to forget, but on the last day of the 2008 season, when the Mets were in the middle of their second straight collapse, Beltran hit a two-run homer off the Marlins’ Scott Olsen to tie the game at 2-2. The Mets would lose the game, but through no fault of Beltran, who almost saved their season.

Point is, if you’re going to criticize the guy for when he didn’t come through, you also need to give him credit for when he did. (And don’t forget the 1.086 OPS he had during that final month of the 2008 season.)

Over the course of his Mets career, Beltran posted a .280/.367/.500 line while averaging 29 homers and 108 RBIs, playing stellar defense in center and stealing bases at an efficient clip. If you expected the Mets to get more for their money, then your expectations are entirely out of whack.

None of this is to say you have to like Beltran, because choosing a favorite is extremely subjective. But there is no denying that he was an extremely productive player who should be remembered as one of the greatest Mets of all time.

This is good analysis by Matt Meyers regarding Beltran and the Mets. I think he was huge during the Mets playoff runs. In 2006 he hit 41 homers and he was a run producer while batting in front of Delgado, Wright, and Alou during that time. I honestly see him as the 2nd best hitter but also one of the most superb fielders I have ever watched. He ran down balls in the gap and could get to any ball that not many center fielders could run down. But one thing you got out of Beltran was a guy who played every single day and was competitive even when the team was not winning every single day. It was an honor to watch him play and I think that was one signing that Omar Minaya hit on the money and wish him the best of luck in the future. Switching to right field will lengthen his career and I think it will be fun to see #15 in any ballpark playing the game he loves…  

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Carlos Beltran will make a switch from CF to RF this season

February 28, 2011

If you are a Mets fan or a fan of reading good baseball information then definitely check out Adam Rubin who reports now for ESPN New York. He also reported for the local New York newspapers but has done a lot of New York Mets work.

Via ESPN NY:

Photo courtesy of New York Post: Anthony J. Causi

Carlos Beltran approached Terry Collins early Monday morning upon arriving at the New York Mets‘ spring-training complex and told his manager: “I need to talk to you.”

Beltran then informed his manager he wanted to initiate the long-debated move from center field to right field.

“I came today thinking in my heart, ‘I still think I can play center field,’ ” Beltran said. “But, at the same time, this is not about Carlos. This is about team.”

At 8:20 a.m., Angel Pagan was summoned into the manager’s office with Beltran and Collins for a five-minute meeting.

Pagan, who capably played center field in Beltran’s absence during the first half of last season as Beltran recovered from Jan. 13, 2010 arthroscopic knee surgery, then was informed he would be playing center field with Beltran in right field, rather than the opposite alignment.

Beltran said the preemptive move avoids a last-minute switch on the eve of the season and prevents weeks of media discussion about the potential move in between.

“In order for me to play center field, I need more time,” Beltran said. “I want to be on the same page with everyone here. I want Terry to have his time and to come to the ballpark ready to play the lineup without thinking where he is going to play Pagan, where he’s going to play me. At the same time I’m thinking about Pagan coming to the ballpark and preparing himself and focused to play baseball. I don’t want to create any distractions here. Like I said, I want to play right. I think it’s best for the team. I think it’s going to be best for me also, best for my knee. It’s going to be less active than playing center field.”

during spring training baseball Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Pagan, a fellow Puerto Rican, said: “I feel really fortunate to be passed this torch from the player I always looked up to. I think having him right next to me is going to be a great plus for me. I’m going to keep looking up to him and keep trying to pick his brain. He’s one of the best center fielders out there, and I’m trying to be like him.”

Beltran, 33, is in the final season of a seven-year, $119 million contract. He has started three games in right field in his career, all in 2000 for the Kansas City Royals.

Beltran said he consulted with agent Scott Boras, his wife Jessica and former Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, who endorsed the move to prolong his career. He plans to enter Grapefruit League play in a week, after testing his right knee running the bases, and pledged to be ready for Opening Day.

Collins implied at the start of camp that he preferred Beltran play right field this season, but the manager said he respected the veteran enough to let him have an opportunity to demonstrate he can play center field in Grapefruit League games if that was his wish.

“I am impressed with the way this whole thing has been handled,” the first-year manager said.

Beltran underwent surgery to clean out an arthritic right knee last January. That began a feud with the organization, which maintained it had not approved the procedure. When Beltran returned for the second half, he had decreased mobility.

Beltran joins other high-profile center fielders who have moved to right field, including Mike Cameron and Torii Hunter. Cameron’s move actually came with the Mets after Beltran originally signed as a free agent with the organization.

“It’s going to be less active,” Beltran said about playing right field. “I’m looking forward to saving my knees for the long run.”

New York Mets' David Wright congratulates teammate Carlos Beltran on a catch in far center field for the out on Houston Astros' Luke Scott to end the 14th inning (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Third baseman David Wright was among the teammates praising Beltran’s selflessness.

“Any time you get a guy that’s accomplished what Carlos has accomplished, and done the kind of things that Carlos has done in this game, to be that guy that really sees the big picture and sees what’s best for this team and does something like that, it makes you want to go out there and really play united and play as a team,” Wright said. “That probably takes a lot coming from a guy that’s really accomplished what he’s accomplished. Carlos wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t feel comfortable doing it. I just think it’s a very selfless act.

“Like I said, baseball players have a lot of pride. To be able to kind of swallow that pride and look at what’s best for the team and make that decision, says a lot about what Carlos is trying to accomplish here.”

This is great news for Carlos Beltran and the Mets. It is great because now Carlos will play a position where he can play and have less of an injury risk while, Angel Pagan will play center field. He needs to stay healthy for the Mets to be relevant and it looks like he has realized that it is not about himself but the team. I think this is key because the Mets have always been about getting the big stars who make their decisions on what they need to do. I think Beltran is trying to change that dynamic of the culture on this team and realize that he is a leader and will need to lead by example. He also wants to play a lot more baseball in his career and when he saw how good Tori Hunter and Mike Cameron have been the past two years, he thought it would be a great idea. I think this makes him more confident and it will allow him to be healthy and be the 30 homer 110 rbi Beltran that we saw back in the early years of 2000’s. This is a huge move for the team and it will make them even better. Beltran has now become a teammate but now a mentor to Angel Pagan…

Latest Mets News: Carlos Beltran running without brace

February 18, 2011

Via ESPNNewYork’s Adam Rubin:

Carlos Beltran has started running without the cumbersome knee brace that may have restricted his mobility during the second half of last season, Newsday reported.

Terry Collins gave a not-to-veiled hint Friday that if the decision were unilateral, the manager would put Beltran in right field right away. But Beltran will be given first dibs at center field, and if it’s not working out, he’ll then move to right field midway through spring training.

By all accounts, Beltran feels good now. Still, the wear and tear of a season, coupled with his chronic knee trouble, would suggest the issue is not completely behind him. Beltran did have to stop playing because of discomfort with a week remaining last season.

This is great news if you are a Mets fan because Beltran is a huge part of their lineup and their defense this season. With him healthy, he can make this team go from a mess to actually the real Mets. I am interested to see how his knee will hold up because the bruises and the swelling could be an issue. It is fine to run around without it, but can he play without it? That is a concern the Mets should look into. Honestly though, I love what Alderson is doing right now with the Mets. He is very smart with his decisions and his role on the team. However, the jury will be out all season on coach Terry Collins to see what he can bring to the table. Will he play Beltran in center field or right field? We shall see soon in spring training but maybe an Angel might be falling into place…

New York Mess

August 30, 2010

The New York Mets have seriously become “The Mess.” They went from almost World Series in 2006 to the years of 2007 and 2008 choke artists. Oh and by the way, in 2009 almost half the team was injured. It has gone from the New York Amazin’s to the New York Mess’ too fast over the past decade. But what do the Mets have to do to bring themselves back to contention? Take a look at these articles that Adam Rubin from ESPN New York wrote about the whole situation.

Part 1: Meet the Mess

Part 2: What do they do next year in 2011?

 I don’t know where to start here but the teams have been terrible since that curve ball by Adam Wainwright to Carlos Beltran in the 2006 NLCS and that fly ball that Ramon Castro hit short 2 feet of a home run with the bases loaded in the final game during the 2007 season. But it really is the production of the players that makes me cringe. Take a look:

Jose Reyes – missed 36 games last year after a hamstring injury and has missed a part of the year because with a olblique injury and spring training because of thyroid imbalance in his body.

Ryan Church – on the 07-08 team but was released because he suffered multiple concussions during the season running into Marlon Anderson and sliding into Yunel Escobar’s knee. Up to that point he was batting 320 with 10 home runs and 33 rbis and an OBP of .384 

Carlos Beltran– a star in the 2006, 07, and 08 seasons. Got hurt in 2009 and since being hurt in 2010 he is batting .212 with 2 homers and 14 rbis in 40 games and has really hurt the Mets since the All Star break starting the team on their downfall.

Luis Castillo – batted .302 last year and was a bright spot for the team but with injuries and inconsistency the past years and terrible defense all year (Ex. Dropping pop up by Alex Rodriguez to lose a Subway Series game last year). Not mention the 6 million they owe him next year as well.

Oliver Perez – the man who pitched 194 innings and over 180 strikeouts in 2008 worth earning a three-year deal has been terrible since. He blew out his arm during the World Baseball classic and has been hurt with his knee and an ERA of over 6 the past two years and is a mess. Oh, they owe him 12 million dollars.

Billy Wagner – hurt at the end of the 2008 season, pitches well in the second half of the 2009 season, traded to the Red Sox who becomes the set up man and then becomes the closer for the Braves and now has 30 saves with an ERA of 1.65.  Why did they get rid of him?

Fransisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez – signed him to a big 3 year deal and had an ERA of 6.75 in the second half of the year and just recently beat his father in law and broke his hand and can’t pitch the whole season. Up to now he had 25 saves but  his actions were way out of line and the Mets need to do something about it.

John Maine – this guy was a Met savior in the 2006  and 2007 season and was going to become one of the top pitchers in the league but then had a so so year in 2008 but then got hurt in the 2009 and 2010 season. He has become nothing ever since the injuries and his velocity has been way down.

Jason Bay – signed a big deal in the offseason and was looking to help out the Mets offense this year but with a concussion in Los Angeles last month and him striking out and hitting into too many double plays has made this signing look terrible. .259 average 6 home runs and 47 rbis are not numbers that Jason Bay puts up. Something’s wrong!

This mess has got to stop but Omar Minaya is too afraid to trade away his prospects and is relying on Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Josh Thole, Jenry Mejia, Fernando Martinez, Ruben Tejada, Bobby Parnell, and Wilmer Flores to make a huge difference. Will they?? I don’t know if they can because they might need a miracle…