Fantasy Baseball: Can Carlos Beltran Be Productive in 2011?

Eric StashinSenior Writer IMarch 9, 2011

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Right now it appears like fantasy owners just don’t know what to expect from Carlos Beltran, and rightfully so.  Once considered one of the best players in baseball, knee problems cost him the better part of a full season (second half of ’09 and first half of ’10).  Upon his return to the diamond in ’10, he looked like a shell of his former self.

In July and August he went just 31 for 142 (.218) with 2 HR, 14 RBI, 9 R and 1 SB.  It was easy to just toss him aside and declare that he would never be a viable player again.

However, something changed in September…  Beltran actually started to round back into form.  He hit .321 with 5 HR, 13 RBI and 12 R in 78 AB.  Suddenly, he thrust himself right back onto our radars, right?  Apparently not, as he is currently holding an ADP of 248.94 according to Mock Draft Central.  That’s in the same grouping as outfielders Tyler Colvin, Jose Tabata, Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer.

Of course, the news that he is now suffering from tendonitis in his “good” knee, sidelining him for the next few days, isn’t going to help matters.  In fact, it makes things all the more questionable.  It was an unknown if he was going to be able to play every day as it was, now it seems inevitable that he gets multiple days off per week.

Obviously he’s not likely to return to the days of being a 25/25 threat year in and year out.  His knees likely won’t let him run as much as he once did.  Even if he does run, is there any guarantee that he is going to be able to be as successful (289 SB in 328 attempts for his career)?

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How about the rest of the numbers?  Does his September revitalization give us any sense of hope?

First of all, you can virtually throw out the power numbers as they came courtesy of a 22.7% HR/FB rate.  Then again, he did post just a 33.3% fly ball rate.  For his career, he has a career mark of 39.5%, so there is some room for improvement there.  Of course, that is assuming that his knee allows him to get some loft on the ball like he once did.

At the outset of the season it would appear that he is going to be slotted back into the middle of the Mets lineup (if he is healthy enough to play), but if he struggles I don’t think they will hesitate to slide him down in the order.  Remember, Ike Davis is likely going to be hitting sixth to open the year, so it is not like the Mets don’t have other options.

The bottom line with Beltran is that he is a huge risk.  I know, it’s not an earth shattering statement, but it is important to note.  He did show signs of the player of old in September, but the speed is not likely to come back and there is reason to doubt the power numbers will either.  With no guarantee that he stays in the middle of the order, is he really worth the risk?

He absolutely is, just later in the draft.  In five outfielder formats, then why not?  In a 12-team league there are going to be over 60 outfielders drafted (including reserves), and even if he is a shell of his former self he is going to be one of the Top 60 players at his position.

What are your thoughts of Beltran?  Is there any chance he’s productive in 2011?  Why or why not?

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