It is a strange concept to be a fan of one team but have a hopeful, quiet push for another team to have a successful season. As a lifelong New York Mets fan, my team is sitting in a good position for a play-off push, with a battle for a Wild Card spot in sight. Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers sit at 92-63 and in first place in the American League West by a respectable margin of 10.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros. With a team pulled together as well as this year’s Rangers team, there is added emphasis on trying to win a championship this year, for the sake of two players on the roster. Two future Hall of Famers, currently with the Rangers, are having extremely good seasons, as they always have in the past. Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran.
Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran Need to Win a World Series
Despite the track records of Beltre and Beltran, neither of them have a World Series ring. Beltre appeared in the World Series in 2011 with Texas, and Beltran in 2013 with the St. Louis Cardinals. While both Beltre and Beltran are sure candidates for the Hall of Fame, a ring would solidify their march towards history, especially after a closer look at their numbers and careers. For the sake of Beltre and Beltran, the Rangers need to make a serious push for the World Series.
For the Love of [Beltre’s] Game
The case for Beltre is obvious. He remains one of the more underrated players in the game, and one of the most fun to watch. He hits home runs from his knees, messes around with teammate Elvis Andrus, and is known league-wide for his hate of being touched on the head, and has been seen more than a few times playfully fighting off players attempting to do so. Meanwhile, at an older age, he is showing why he is still one of the better third baseman in the league. While most analysts take closer looks at WAR, oWar, or RAA, I tend to look at the more direct numbers.
Beltre is one of the longer tenured players in the Major Leagues, making his debut on June 24, 1998 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has 444 home runs and 1,567 RBIs, and so most label Beltre as a power hitter. Yet, Beltre has 2,935 career hits. With a healthy 2017, Beltre will reach 3,000 hits for his career. That is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, disregarding most other numbers. If the argument still has to be made, Beltre is currently a .286 career hitter, which shows his dependability, and while it’s not an above .300 average like recent retiree, Derek Jeter, and it’s much better than one of the best third baseman in the Hall of Fame, Mike Schmidt, who hit .267 in his career. Beltre is a more all-around hitter, whose best comparison may be Schmidt in terms of numbers. While Schmidt hit a whopping 548 home runs in his career, Beltre is capable of hitting at least 20 home runs for the next 3 seasons if healthy, which would put him right around the 500 home run mark. Meanwhile, Beltre only needs 30 RBIs to tie Schmidt in that vicinity.
For the Sabermetricians
Now, in order to satisfy those other analysts who like advanced statistics, Beltre is a field day for them. According to High Heat Stats on Twitter, the list of all Major League players to post a 5+ WAR in every season since 2010 is one: Beltre. Christopher Kamka reports that the top five career bWAR by third baseman in history is as follows: Schmidt (106.5), Eddie Mathews (96.4), Wade Boggs (91.1), Beltre (89.3), and George Brett (88.4). What the other four not named Beltre have in common is that they are all Hall of Fame third baseman. Ryan Spaeder, a much trusted stats guy, boldly compares Beltre to fan favorite Jeter, who usually has some very defensive supporters. Beltre’s career WAR at this point in his career is 89.4, while Jeter’s was 71.8; in a more closely even match, Beltre’s .818 OPS is only a point higher than Jeter’s .817, as is their OPS+ (Beltre’s 116 to Jeter’s 115, for you sabermetric lovers). In terms of defense, Beltre’s defensive runs saved is 221.7, compared to Jeter’s horrific -246.3. While his numbers are undeniable, and will vault him towards significant Hall of Fame consideration, a ring will solidify his resume.
The Oldie but Goodie
Beltran, due to his checkered injury past, seems like he may be a little older than he actually is. At 39 years old, he is two years older than Beltre, and debuted three months later, on September 14, 1998 for the Kansas City Royals. Despite hitting no home runs in 1998 and dealing with multiple injuries in his career, Beltran still stands at 420 career home runs and 1,534 RBIs, while being one of the more dependable veterans. Just like Beltre, Beltran has a single World Series appearance, in 2013 with the Cardinals.
On June 24, 2004, Beltran joined the Astros and led them to the NLCS, where they lost in seven games. In 2006, Beltran and the Mets reached the NLCS and lost again in seven games, in both cases to the team Beltran would ultimately reach the World Series with, the Cardinals. Beltran’s best comparison, statistically, may be a different name than usual: Billy Williams. The Hall of Fame outfielder finished with 426 career home runs and 1,475 RBIs. Beltran has already surpassed the RBIs, and is closing in on the home runs, but they both have the underrated piece to them.
Ultimately, Beltre and Beltran have Hall of Fame numbers, especially when comparing them to some of the guys already there, and the contributions they’ve made to their teams and their durability in the Major Leagues. Both are veteran leaders on the same team, trying to lead a charging, young team to great success in the play-offs. It’d be a very opportune time for the Rangers to take advantage of what they have, and get at least one championship for two guys who deserve more than most.