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Overdraft: Beltre's Steady Production is Being Overlooked
Michael Ryan,

After Adrian Beltre’s monster 2004 season with the Dodgers, where he cranked 48 homers and 121 RBIs to go with a .334 batting average in a contract year, people kept waiting for the repeat from Adrian Beltre. In the four years since he has infamously averaged a line of 80/24/88/.266 and that ’04 season is definitely the aberration for his career.

After four full seasons under his belt in Seattle, Beltre has gone from a player that you draft praying he will return to that majestic 2004 form to a player where you know exactly what you’re gonna get, and according to the majority of mock drafters in 2009, that’s a bad thing.

I, for one, do not agree. No, he is not ever going to get back to a .334 average or 48 home runs. Hell, he’s not going to hit .300 or get to 35 homers either. But that’s ok because Adrian Beltre, with his 195th average draft position, offers something pretty rare for players going in the 16th round: consistent production.

When I gathered his averages for the four categories from the past four seasons, one thing I noted was how incredibly consistent Beltre has been in his time with Seattle. With the exception of steals, which have ranged from 3 to 14, Beltre’s stats across the board have had very little fluctuation from top to bottom.

Yes, I know that drafting Beltre these days is not a sexy pick and that a lot of people start looking for upside later on in the draft but if you missed out on one of the top 3B early on and need a spot to fill at a corner spot, you could do much worse than Mr. Beltre.

The two third basemen going immediately ahead of Adrian Beltre are Alex Gordon and Ty Wigginton, both of whom are ranked after Beltre in Fantasy Juice’s expert ratings.

Gordon, who was the next Braun and Longoria before there was a Braun or Longoria, has failed to live up to expectations in his first two seasons. While he still has some nice upside heading into his third year, this is not someone you want to be carrying your fantasy hopes on as your third basemen and is better off being a back-up with upside on opening day.

Wigginton, recently signed by the O’s, has some decent pop and won’t kill your average but also doesn’t have guaranteed every day playing time. He is a classic jack-of-all-trades, master of none, in that he can (and will) play all over the field but unless there is an injury to one of the current starters, won’t be getting every day at-bats, making it difficult to justify drafting him as a late-round starter.

Adrian Beltre is not a player that I am targeting heading into draft day, but if circumstances leave me looking for a 3B or CI heading into the middle parts of the draft, I will gladly pencil him and his steady production into my line-up.

Oh yeah, and it’s also Beltre’s first contract year since that 2004 season, you never know…

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