Carlos Beltran Goes Under the Knife: Is 2010 Over Before it Begins?

Bryan CurleyCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 11:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets at bat against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 11, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

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New York Mets’ OF Carlos Beltran had surgery on his problematic knee this past Wednesday. He is expected to miss Opening Day, which really hurts his fantasy value. According to his agent, Scott Boras, his timetable is as such:

“The doctor said eight weeks, possibly, and a window to 12 weeks to resume baseball activities. With elite athletes, the timetable is sometimes shorter than the original prognosis.”

As if Beltran didn’t have enough question marks entering this season, it will be tough for any manager to draft a player rehabbing from knee surgery, let alone a player like Beltran who made such a name for himself with his 30/30 potential.

In his time in New York, Beltran steadily increased his SB totals every season from 17 in 2005 to 25 in 2008 before swiping 11 bags last season in only 81 games. A knee injury like this will reverse that upwards trend.

During the same period, his AVG rose every season from .266 in 2005 to .284 in 2008. He also managed to hit .325 during his shortened 2009.

From 2006-2009, Beltran saw his HR/AB rate drop every season after belting 41 HR in 510 AB in ‘06 and only hitting 10 in 357 AB last season. Since he had also experienced this decline in the prior two seasons, I am inclined to believe his struggles had more to do with his fading health than Citi Field’s expansive power alleys.

What’s Beltran's 2010 prognosis? Not good.

He turns 33 in late April, and while that isn’t very old by today’s standards, Beltran has suffered from declining power numbers for many seasons and has what appears to be a chronic knee injury. While we may hope the knee heals, it will never be back to full strength. He is clearly transitioning from a power-hitting OF to a more balanced game, which is valuable, but why risk drafting Beltran?

If you want a power/speed combo, I’d rather have Curtis Granderson.

If you want someone who scores runs and steals some bases, I’ll take Shane Victorino.

If you want someone who hits homers, give me Jason Kubel.

While Beltran is recovering, expect some attention to fall on Angel Pagan. In only 88 games last season (343 AB) Pagan posted a  54/.306/6/32/14 line. The .306 AVG was a career best, but the rest of the numbers fell within his career per-game averages, so when given a chance he can perform. With the Mets likely to give Beltran more days off, especially early in the season, look for Pagan to have added value.


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