The Two Halfs of Carlos Beltran

Players don’t usually get better as they graduate to their mid-30’s. It’s just good science. At the ripe old age of 35 Carlos Beltran had his best fantasy campaign since 2008 from a pure numbers stand point. His end of season numbers — .269, 83R, 32HR, 97RBI, 13SB – were good enough for 11th place ($17) in our rankings , but how he ended up there is a different story.

In the first half of the season 35-year-old Beltran looked more like 27-year-old Beltran, hitting .296/.382/.542 with 20 homers at the All-Star break. He slugged .707 in May. He hit .337 in June. Then July and August happened. He went from hitting like the man he replaced in the lineup, Albert Pujols, to hitting like Jeff Francoeur. Here are his slash lines from those two months.

July: .200/.231/.400
August: .211/.271/.394

That’s…that’s not good. He redeemed himself a bit with a better September/October (.849 OPS) but had pissed off a large swath of fantasy owners by that point. If you had sold high on him at mid-season you were no doubt reaping the rewards. If you were stuck playing him every day then staring at your lineup become a daily exercise in anger management.

Looking at his batted ball data tells us his BABIP was much, much lower in those two months than the others, which was expected. He didn’t have abnormally high or low line drive, ground ball or fly ball percentages in those two months, all of which could contribute to the fluctuation in BABIP. The culprit in his slump looks to be a mixture of bad luck and a lack of patience.

Beltran has been a fairly patient hitter in his career. Let’s take a look at his BB% by month.

April: 15.1
May: 11.4
June: 10.4
July: 4.4
Aug: 7.6
Sept: 14.4

Notice anything? He had the highest K% of his career (20%) last season as well. His O-Swing%, Z-Swing%, Swing% and SwStr% were all at career highs while his Contact% was a career low. I think it’s fair to say he got a bit lucky in the first half of the season to put up the kind of numbers he did and a bit unlucky in the second half, which doesn’t make for an enjoyable fantasy season.

He’ll be back in St. Louis next year, once again hitting in the middle of a very potent lineup. If he can stay healthy, which he has done the past two seasons, he should be able to produce similar totals to his 2012 season.

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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

6 Responses to “The Two Halfs of Carlos Beltran”

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  1. SteveJobs says:


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  2. Danny says:

    Posthumous Steve Jobs comment —> creepy.

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  3. Kyle says:

    Beltran went from a ballpark that isn’t conducive to hitting homeruns to one that hitters love. Also in 2009, he hit .325 and hitting for some power compared to other Mets but missed half the season. In 2011, he hit .300 and had slugged .500. His strikeouts will probably continue to go up, but he’ll hit 28 to 35 homeruns again depending on health and production from other hitters around him in the Cards’ lineup.

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  4. Erik says:

    He’s just going to keep RF warm until Mr. Taveras comes up anyway. Stay away from Carlos in 2013.

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  5. tecjug says:

    If his swing rates were all career highs and his contact rate was a career low, couldn’t that also indicate either injury or – gasp – the dreaded “loss of bat speed” that so often seems to afflict aging hitters?

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  6. Brandon says:

    I don’t understand the concluding paragraph. You spent the previous 5 paragraphs talking about all the things that went wrong with Carlos and how there is evidence for a decline, then you wrap it up by stating that because he is on the same team in the same ballpark he should repeat last year’s numbers.

    I’m not betting on a guy who had a Jeff Francouer second half at age 35.

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