Continuing our series on how luck effected a player’s season, today I will look at Adrian Beltre. I will once again refer you to Chris Dutton and Peter Bendix’s great work on xBABIP which I will make reference to. Additionally, BABIP in these posts is defined (H-HR)/(PA-HR-K-BB-HBP).
Adrian Beltre is one of the best 3B in the game today. Over the past 5 years, Beltre has been worth an average of 4.9 wins per season. Unfortunately for fantasy players, though, nearly half his value is in his glove. Additionally most of his offensive value lies in his monster 2004 season. Last year, however, Beltre was a decent fantasy 3B. His average was sub-par, but he made up for it with 25 HR, 81 R, 87 RBI, and a handful of steals. Beltre achieved these numbers despite battling some pretty poor luck. Adrian logged his worst BABIP since 2002 (.276). This killed his average, as well as hurting his ability to score and drive in runs. Beltre ’s xBABIP on the year was .319 which would have made his numbers a lot better.
If we control his statistics for the new BABIP of .319 (essentially strip the luck out of his balls-in-play), then Beltre gains 19 hits. This bumps his batting average considerably since he is not that prone to the strike out. Adding in the 5 doubles he would have likely gained, Beltre ’s slash line goes up to .300/.358/.500/.858 form the previous line of .266/..327/.457/.784. His increase in times on base and hits also helps him generate 7 more runs and ten more RBIs (bringing his totals to 81 and 87 respectively). It is safe to say that Beltre ’s poor luck had quite the effect on his fantasy season.
Going forward, I would not expect Beltre to have the same poor offensive season he had last year. Since 2002 Beltre has topped 20 HR all but one season, and he has also had 25 or more the last three years. If we pencil him in at 25 HR again and a reasonable .290 average, then his numbers should come close to matching what he missed out on last year. It would not be unreasonable to expect him to be a top 5-10 fantasy 3B. The one issue I see with Beltre is the team he plays for. The M’s have done little to improve upon an offense that was second-to-last in the AL in runs-scored, therefore it might be a struggle for him to break 85 runs or 85 runs-batted-in. If he steals 10 bases, though, you may take a little less scoring and power.