Unlike some of the other top free agents, we’re starting to get a real sense of where Carlos Beltran may end up. Sure, there are a lot of teams that seem interested, but we would at least seem to have some finalists. As fantasy baseball players, where should we want him?
Before we look at some potential landing spots and what they’d mean for his fantasy value, let’s have a look at some relevant recent numbers from Beltran.
Now, for where he might go:
The Carlos Beltran market is developing fast and furious: NYY, TEX, BOS, KC, CLE and SEA all interested. Interesting all are AL teams.
— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) November 13, 2013
Sources: #Orioles interested in Beltran. Pursuit may hinge on team clearing Wieters or another high-salaried player.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 15, 2013
As Feinsand noted, we’re dealing with all American League teams, which is not a surprise. Beltran hasn’t been in the AL since getting traded from the Royals in 2004, but he’ll be 37 in April and has dealt with injuries, so going to a place he can DH certainly makes sense. So, how would Beltran fare in these places?
Well, we’ve seen Beltran’s stats, let’s see some other in-play factors for the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers, starting with the home stadiums.
Ballpark Factors, 2013
|Baltimore Orioles, Oriole Park at Camden Yards||1.057 (10)||1.275 (4)|
|Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park||0.960 (20)||0.845 (23)|
|Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field||0.933 (22)||1.078 (12)|
|Kansas City Royals, Kauffman Stadium||1.082 (9)||0.880 (22)|
|New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium||1.087 (7)||1.128 (9)|
|Seattle Mariners, Safeco Field||0.991 (15)||0.885 (21)|
|Texas Rangers, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington||0.985 (17)||0.903 (19)|
It’s interesting. I certainly wouldn’t think of Boston and Texas as pitcher’s parks, but these numbers would suggest they’re at least pretty fair. Anyway, it’s not terribly surprising that New York and Baltimore would seem to have the ballpark edge in their favor. If Beltran hit right handed, I’d move them down a little bit. But as a switch hitter, most at-bats will come from the left side, and right field is a live yard there.
So, two other questions arise. What kind of lineup would he be hitting in, and what kind of playing time would he be looking at? I know, if Beltran signs somewhere for big money, playing time wouldn’t logically be an issue, but it’s worth exploring.
2013 Runs: Total/RPG (Rank)
|Baltimore Orioles||745/4.60 (T-5)||Steve Pearce (LF), Adam Jones (CF), Nick Markakis (RF), Danny Valencia (DH).|
|Boston Red Sox||853/5.265 (1)||Daniel Nava (LF), Shane Victorino (CF), Shane Victorino (RF), David Ortiz (DH).|
|Cleveland Indians||745/4.60 (T-5)||Michael Brantley (LF), Michael Bourn (CF), Drew Stubbs (RF), Jason Giambi (DH).|
|Kansas City Royals||648/4 (18)||Alex Gordon (LF), Jarrod Dyson (CF), Lorenzo Cain (RF), Billy Butler (DH).|
|New York Yankees||650/4.01 (16)||Alfonso Soriano (LF), Brett Gardner (CF), Ichiro Suzuki (RF), Vernon Wells (DH).|
|Seattle Mariners||624/3.85 (22)||Michael Saunders (LF), Dustin Ackley (CF), Abraham Almonte (RF), N/A (DH).|
|Texas Rangers||730/4.51 (8)||Craig Gentry (LF), Leonys Martin (CF), Alex Rios (RF), Jurickson Profar (DH).|
A few quick thoughts:
- There are plenty of available outfielders in free agency/trades, but Beltran would pretty clearly start on all of these teams. So, I don’t think playing time would be a concern.
- Is it any surprise that the Mariners seem to be interested in every single free agent on the market this year?
- If the Red Sox don’t sign an outfielder, are they really going to have Shane Victorino playing CF and RF? I mean, he’s a good player and everything, but right field at Fenway is hard enough. I couldn’t imagine having to play it AND CF at the same time. I know, Jonny Gomes is still there, and this is exactly why they’re looking for an OF, but it’s funny to think about.
In all seriousness, the team I keep coming back to is the Orioles. You’re looking at a heart of the order that would feature Beltran mixed in with Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis and assuming they leave him as a starter (which they absolutely should), Nick Markakis possibly leading off. That team would be absolutely lethal and Beltran’s numbers would be excellent.
After that, the Red Sox are intriguing. That’s certainly a team that can score some runs and though they seem likely to lose Jacoby Ellsbury, Beltran would still be in the heart of a potent order. He wouldn’t be a bad fit in Texas or Cleveland, but I’d still like to see one more power bat in that lineups to compliment Beltran.
As for the teams I wouldn’t be crazy about: Other than Robinson Cano, the Yankees would be relying on a lot of question marks around Beltran. The Royals would be interesting. They can score runs, but still don’t have a great power hitter. I don’t know where he’d bat there, and that’d be the most important factor. The Mariners are a Wild Card in this situation. Right now, they’re a team with a shaky order and a pitcher’s park. If they hit on Beltran and a few more free agent targets, we can re-visit this. At the moment, they’re last on the list as far as his fantasy value goes.
On that note, let’s finish by answering the question. Looking purely at how valuable he’d be as a fantasy player, where should we want to see him go?
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- Texas Rangers
- Cleveland Indians
- Kansas City Royals
- New York Yankees
- Seattle Mariners