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2011 Fantasy Projections, No. 64: Will Adrian Beltre's Contract Slow Him Down?

NEW YORK - AUGUST 06:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Boston Red Sox in action against  the New York Yankees during their game on August 6, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Nick KappelAnalyst IIIMarch 5, 2011

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

After posting 28 HRs and 102 RBI with a whopping .321 batting average for the Boston Red Sox last season, Adrian Beltre cashed in with a six-year, $96 million deal with the Texas Rangers this offseason.

Despite the popular belief that Beltre is motivated solely by contract years, FanGraph’s Dave Cameron recently disproved this theory.

A peak at Beltre’s plate discipline stats unveil some interesting recent trends (save the 2009 season, which saw him spend 55 days on the DL due to groin and shoulder injuries):

Strikeout Rate:

2007: 17.5 percent
2008: 16.2 percent
2010: 13.9 percent

Contact Rate:

2007: 77.2 percent
2008: 80.5 percent
2010: 82.8 percent

Swinging Strike Rate:

2007: 11.9 percent
2008: 9.6 percent
2010: 8.8 percent

Beltre actually appears to be improving at the plate, whiffing less and making better contact. His tendency to hack at pitches outside the zone, however, is among the worst in the majors.

Looking forward to 2011, Beltre’s career numbers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington provide some encouragement. In 51 games (219 at-bats) there, the soon-to-be 32-year-old has hit .306 with nine homers and 34 RBI.

Beltre is unlikely to repeat his .331 BABIP (.294 career) of last season, but a normal clip should yield a .280 batting average.

Batting either fourth or fifth in the Rangers potent lineup puts 25 HRs and 90 RBI well within reach.

Beltre suffered a mild calf strain early this spring, and was thought to be out for up to a month. The Rangers, however, believe it’s a “10- to 14-day injury” and expect he’ll be ready to play March 10.

At a very thin third base position, Beltre offers above-average power numbers with a batting average that won’t hurt your team.

He’s the sixth-ranked player at the hot corner on our 2011 big board, No. 64 overall.

  PA R HR RBI SB AVG
2010 stats 641 84 28 102 2 .321
3-year average 577 71 20 74 8 .286
2011 FBI Forecast 625 80 26 90 5 .282

 

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