The Texas Rangers' Offense Needed Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran has been a hero in the postseason plenty of times in the past. Now, in his age-39 season, he may not be done on the national stage just yet.
Source: Rangers agree to acquire Carlos Beltran from Yankees. Dillon Tate going back. @Ken_Rosenthal said it was close.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 1, 2016
The Texas Rangers currently hold a six-game lead in the American League West with an 8.5-game cushion over the third-place Seattle Mariners. There's a whole lotta baseball left, but they seem as if they're on their way to a second consecutive postseason berth.
There's one big problem, though. Thanks to a plus-nine run differential, they're 18th in numberFire's power rankings, showing up as 0.29 runs worse per game than a league-average team. That would indicate that -- if they were to make the postseason -- the run might not be an extended one.
Is Beltran enough to help put the team over the edge? He may not erase all of the potential regression for the team, but he's still a darn good baseball player.
If you see a dude who's pushing 40 pump out a .304/.344/.546 slash, and his name isn't David Ortiz, the reflex will be to blame a small sample size. And while Beltran may not keep everything quite that lofty, his peripheral stats are not those of someone his age.
Beltran's hard-hit rate for the season is 35.5%, well above the league-average mark for non-pitchers of 31.7%. It's also Beltran's highest since 2013, and it comes with a lofty 40.8% fly-ball rate. Those are the marks of a true power hitter, giving legitimacy to his 22 dingers through the end of July.
What's even better about Beltran is his continued ability to limit soft contact. His career rate is 14.3% in that arena, but he is besting it this year at 11.9%, his lowest soft-hit rate since a decade ago in 2006. A 35.5% hard-hit rate with an 11.9% soft-hit rate and an 18.1% strikeout rate is an indication that a hitter's still got it, and that's what we see in Beltran thus far in 2016.
Those peripherals bring something not many of their other outfielders have, and that's sustainable production. Here's how Beltran's batted-ball and strikeout stats stack up with the group he'll be joining down in Texas. These are the outfielders with at least 100 plate appearances on the season.
|Player||Hard-Hit Rate||Soft-Hit Rate||Strikeout Rate|
Beltran doesn't have the future potential of Nomar Mazara or the stolen-base abilities of Ian Desmond, but he's the only guy on that list with better-than-average marks in both hard-hit rate and strikeout rate. Adding him into the fold will definitively strengthen this unit moving forward.
With Prince Fielder on the disabled list, Beltran will most likely see a good amount of time as the team's designated hitter. If so, they can expect exponential improvement at the position given Fielder's 28.5% hard-hit rate and 19.9% soft-hit rate prior to his injury. Again, no matter where you stick Beltran, he's an upgrade for this lineup.
With how Shin-Soo Choo has performed this year, you'd assume he'd also snag a spot in the lineup once he's able to return from his back injury. Adding both Beltran and a healthy Choo to the current Rangers order would be a significant boon, and it would make this offense one of the best in the majors.
The Rangers have their warts, ranking dead last in starter skill-interactive ERA and 27th among relievers. But when it comes to offense, these puppies are going to thump. With Beltran now in the fold, that should only become more true.