Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Adrian Beltre Situation

Coming off his arguably second best season of his career (only behind his absurd 2004 season), Adrian Beltre finds himself to be one of the last premier free agents left on the market. The 12 year veteran third baseman is looking for a 6 year contract with intentions for $85-90 million. He is 31 years old and arguably still in his prime and shut everyone's mouth after an injury riddled 2009 season, his last one with the Seattle Mariners. In 2010, he was with the Boston Red Sox and was brought in to play defense because he is, statistically, the third best third-baseman in baseball with a career 125 UZR. But he busted out with 28 home runs and 102 RBI with a fantastic slash line: .321/.365/.553.

Most of his advanced statistics looked to be around his average for his career except his Isolated Power (ISO). His ISO this year was .233 whereas his career ISO is .187 which can be a tad alarming to teams (as well as fantasy owners) for the upcoming season. The main cause for the sudden ISO out burst is the fact that he hit 49 doubles this year, a career high. The fact that his ISO was so much higher than his career average, especially after an injury-year and near the end of his prime suggests that he won't put up those numbers again.

And that brings up another red-flag. The difference between his On Base Percentage and batting average is a slim 44 points which means that if and when his batting average drops down back to his career average (.275) then likely his OBP is going to come back down (.328). Keep in mind that his Average and OBP are going to recede because of the ISO out burst (which will also recede back to his career average). If you are wondering what Isolated Power is, click here

Both of his career numbers are generally average for an everyday Major League player but the fact that his On base and Batting average differential is just 44 points means that when his average falls, so will his on base percentage, as I stated before, thus meaning that he won't be any where nearly as valuable as he was in 2010.

Just a month ago, there were said to be around 12 teams that Beltre could end up playing for. Those teams included the Red Sox, Athletics, Orioles, Blue Jays, Giants, Indians and the Angels.

Now, the Anaheim Angels seem to be pretty much the only team pursuing Beltre. The Angels offered him a 5-year, $70 million deal which I think is plenty. Let's face it, he's gonna be in an Angels uniform this year, it's a good match: the Angels are coming off a down year and could use a spark, they also need to replace Chone Figgins who left Anaheim for the division rival Seattle Mariners just a year ago. Beltre is looking for a multi-year deal and has expressed interest in playing for the Angels.

My prediction? He'll be playing third-base in Anaheim on a 5 year, $86 million deal. His first year should look something like 20-25 home runs with around a .265 average, but that could be completely wrong and depending on how the first year goes could decide how the next few years go for him.

Some recent notable signings consist of Rich Harden with his first team, The Oakland Athletics for one-year, $1.5 million; Blue Jays signed Corey Patterson to a minor league deal; Nationals have offiaclly anounced the one-year deal with Rick Ankeil for $1.5 million; and the Red SOx have signed Bobby Jenks for 2 years and $12 million.

(Statistics in courtesy of: espn.com, fangraphs.com, baseballthinkfactory.org, baseballprospectus.com and mlbtraderumors.com)

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