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Beltran's Knees: A Fantasy Analysis
Tim Lee,

New York Mets star outfielder Carlos Beltran underwent knee surgery on Wednesday. The Mets believe that Beltran will be able to resume baseball activities in 12 weeks, which would cause him to miss the start of the season.

Beltran previously had arthroscopic surgery on both knees in 2007. Last season, he played in only 81 games, again, because of his knees.

Fantasy owners looking to draft Beltran need to be concerned about this injury. At best, it looks like Beltran will miss all of April. At worst, he may need further surgery and miss more significant time. Beltranís injury history suggests that this is a chronic, regressive condition that will be a problem for the rest of his career.

Donít buy agent Scott Borasís claim that elite athletes have shorter timetables than the original prognosis. Barry Bonds had minor knee surgery before the 2005 season and was expected back in April, but with multiple setbacks he didnít return to the field until mid-September.

Letís break down what we can expect from the 2010 version of Carlos Beltran. First, all of his counting stats will take a significant blow due to the missed time. That means that you shouldnít expect him to crack 100 RBIs or runs, and likely not even 90.

And home runs? Letís not forget that heís hitting in Citifield, the place where power bats go to die. He hit 10 HRs last season in 81 games, projecting out to 20 over a full season. That was his lowest power output since his disappointing first season with the Mets in 2005 when he hit 16 HRs in 151 games. He may have a hard time reaching 20 HRs in 2010.

As for steals, with his Godzilla-like knees you should be kissing the streets if he gets 5-10 SBs. Finally for average, donít expect him to hit .325 again. In 11 seasons, he has hit above .276 only 5 times. Expect him to hit around .275-.280.

Beltranís value mainly comes from the power-speed threat that he provides. With this injury, his advanced age, and the abyss known as Citifield, you can expect him to disappoint in these categories. His value is slightly increased in head-to-head leagues, where playoffs are held in September. Nevertheless, you should leave the risk to someone else in your league, unless Beltran falls to the middle to late rounds of your draft.

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