Contract Crowdsourcing Results: Adrian Beltre

Going into this one, I thought Beltre would be something of a polarizing player, but it turns out that a vast majority of the crowd agrees on what kind of deal Beltre will land this winter. The results of this afternoon’s crowdsourcing:

Average length: 3.60 years
Average salary: $13.06 million

Median length: 4 years
Median salary: $13 million

Standard deviation, length: 0.75 years
Standard deviation, salary: $2.45 million

The crowd estimates that Beltre will land a $4 year, $52 million contract this winter, but the gap between three and four years was pretty small, so we could more accurately estimate it as something like three guaranteed years with an expected fourth year option, or something along those lines.

As you can see from the lower standard deviations, agreement was pretty high. Of the 900 votes counted, 87 percent of them chose either a three or four year contract. Likewise, 69 percent of the voters chose an annual average salary between $12 and $15 million per year. $12 million was the most chosen salary, but significantly more people picked a number north of that than below it, pushing the average up over $13 million.

My feeling is that these estimates are probably close to correct. I might take the over, but not by much – I’d probably have estimated 4/56 or something, but I’d be close to the crowd on this one. His performance variances drive the expected price down, but even at this expected rate, he should probably be a good signing for whoever lands him this winter. $13 million a year values him as about a +3 win player going forward, while he’s averaged +4 wins per season over his career. Even as he heads into the downside of his career, he’s got enough athleticism and ability to sustain a performance that should justify the crowd’s expected investment.

For a team looking to upgrade at third base this winter, Beltre is probably their best bet. Given these prices, there’s a good chance they come out ahead in the long run. I’d put him near the top of the list of free agents to go after this winter.

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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

17 Responses to “Contract Crowdsourcing Results: Adrian Beltre”

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  1. Brennan Boesch says:

    I am AL ROY!!!!!

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  2. BJsWorld says:

    He may have averaged 4 WAR over his career but that is not what you can expect year in year out with the guy. A reasonable expectation is closer to 3 WAR. And at $12-13m he is looking like he will get paid in line with his expected production levels.

    I don’t see Beltre as a bargain – just a reasonable signing.

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    • Rich says:

      Well, it really depends on whether or not this year was for real, and whether his improvement was based on playing in fenway park, or on not playing in Safeco.

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  3. John says:

    I’d like to see Dave craft a detailed analysis of Beltre’s projected value going forward. Let’s say he’s a 4.0 WAR player next season and declines by .5 WAR in each successive season. Assuming the cost per win remains constant (I’m no economist, but I doubt player salaries escalate appreciably during this shitstorm), we can peg Beltre’s value quite easily:

    ’11: $16 mil
    ’12: $14 mil
    ’13: $12 mil
    ’14: $10 mil

    Seems like 4/52 is the targeted contract. However, Beltre’s offensive resurgence isn’t simply a byproduct of inflated BABIP. As of the other day, his xBABIP was .312, which equated to a .305/.360/.530 line, or a wOBA in the neighborhood of .390 (+30 runs). Undoubtedly, migrating from Safeco to Fenway significantly lifted Beltre’s offensive ceiling, and his drastically improved splits after seeing a pitcher 3+ times suggests a matured hitter who has benefitted from superior scouting/coaching.

    When estimating Beltre’s future value, perhaps the Red Sox should project him as a +15-20 hitter instead of the +8-10 he displayed in extreme pitching environments (Safeco and LA). A revised projection along these lines renders a 4.5-5.0 WAR player, which obviously boosts his value and (presumably) his paycheck.

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  4. Does anyone else find it suspicious how he only has years like this right before becoming a free agent? Hgh anyone?

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    • LeeTro says:

      He had a walk year last year too, yet he didn’t do much at all.

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    • Eric M. Van says:

      Actually, in the last seven years he’s always had years like this except when playing for the Mariners in Safeco (where I believe the weather bothered him as much as the ballpark). That’s the simpler and more parsimonious explanation.

      John already mentioned my finding / interpretation of the breakout season: better coaching and video scouting. (Not just the splits the 3rd time around the order, but also a disproportionate improvement when ahead in the count versus behind.) If you’ve heard Beltre interviewed, you know he’s a bright guy, and he seems like the type who could benefit from exactly that.

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  5. phoenix says:

    i am sure that fenway helped his numbers to a degree, and also having a contract year tends to boost performance. he can be a streaky hitter year to year already. we know that he is capable of a year like this, but you can’t go around expecting it year to year. he has a couple stand out years like this one, so we know he has a high ceiling, but he has had mostly solid, a bit above average years, offset by huge ones like this. one can average him for 4-4.5 WAR per year, but you are more likely to get a 2 WAR year and then a 6 WAR year than two 4 WAR years. in that way, he can be a risk, but with a huge upset as the red sox are seeing. if he signs with a team in a hitter’s park, then he will be on the higher end of his average performances, but he won’t perennially have seasons like this one. he tends to have pretty solid years and then one or two amazing ones. a team just has to hope they get one of those amazing ones.

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  6. Steve says:

    david ortiz turned beltre on to his ‘ped’ doctor.

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  7. MFG says:

    with a 4year/$50M-ish contract already resolved, where does the crowd see Beltre getting that deal? LAA is the most plausible, no?

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  8. Brad Johnson says:


    In future “crowd sourcing’s” can you comment on – say- the 75th percentile projection? I suspect that the vast majority of teams that pursue Beltre will agree with the fans here, but with a player like Beltre who’s likely to be pursued by many teams including big budget ones like the Red Sox and Angels, there’s a good chance that the team who signs him will be a Winner’s Curse victim…And I further suspect that the more bullish prognosticators will end up right on this one (it’s a very dead market for 3b’s to top things off).

    I picked 4/48 for what it’s worth although I would have picked 12.5/per if I had the choice.

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