He stood there like the Hall of Fame Museum by the side of the road, and watched it go by.
Beltran, 35, continues to pad his postseason credentials at a time when his career is on the rebound. More than two years removed from knee problems that required surgery, and coming off a strong — if uneven — season in which his first-half play generated MVP discussion, he’s at a point where his Hall of Fame case is coming into focus. In the past 13 months, he has surpassed the 300 homer, 300 stolen base and 2,000 hit milestones, putting him a select group with five other ballplayers: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Andre Dawson and Steve Finley.
...Those milestones alone won’t be enough to put Beltran over the top, but with his career back on track, he’s poised to climb higher. With this year’s 32 homers, he’s now at 334; if he can get to, say, 2,500 hits and 400 homers, he’ll be one of 26 hitters with such a pair. Seventeen of those players are already in the Hall, and the rest — Bonds, Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero — have the resumes for it, if also some PED allegations to complicate matters.
...Beltran’s peak is further below the average than one might have suspected going in, though he still has a case as one of the top 10 centerfielders in history — no small accomplishment, and one that may trump any relation to the standards in the minds of actual voters. From the standpoint of JAWS, while he may be able to stick around past age 40 and add a couple of WARP per year (he was worth 3.3 last year, and 1.9 this year, with −8 FRAA defense in each season cutting into his value), increasing his peak score at this stage is a taller order. His seventh-best season was worth 4.2 WARP, a mark he hasn’t exceeded since 2008, when he was 31 and still playing centerfield.
Even allowing that his postseason accomplishments are worth a handful of extra WARP, he’ll have work to do just to surpass any of the aforementioned contemporaries. That said, he’s not done yet — either in the grand scheme of his career, or in this October.
Posted: October 16, 2012 at 05:10 AM | 9 comment(s)
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