Like all sweet dreams, it will be brief, but brevity makes sweetness, doesn’t it?
— Stephen King, 11/22/63
Two weeks ago, I posted a study of the top “one-and-done” positional players in Red Sox history and the player who rose to the top of every statistical category we studied – WAR and OPS+ – was Adrian Beltre. It was almost no contest, as the former third baseman prove himself valuable at the plate and in the field.
Today, I came across an article posted today at Sports On Earth written by Howard Megdal entitled “We should appreciate how good Adrian Beltre really is.” In between references to the multitude of injuries he has played through over his career and the theory that race is a reason that his grittiness has been overlooked by the mainstream baseball media when compared to white ballplayers, I found a few notable excerpts:
Using Baseball-Reference.com’s Wins Above Replacement, Adrian Beltre rates seventh among all third basemen. Ever. Here’s the list of third basemen better than Beltre, per WAR: Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Chipper Jones and Brooks Robinson. All but Jones are in the Hall of Fame, and he will surely follow. All of them, including Jones, are household names among baseball fans…
For most of his career, his glove has been as impressive as anyone — third highest defensive WAR in baseball history by a third baseman, only trailing Buddy Bell and Brooks Robinson. A normal Beltre season will allow him to pass Bell this year, and leave only Robinson ahead of him.
At this stage, Beltre is not a lock for the Hall of Fame. Per Baseball-Reference.com, his Hall of Fame Monitor score is 89 and his Hall of Fame Standards score is 40; the average is 100 and 50, respectively. However, his JAWS score of 58.5 places him eighth among third baseman, and the average of 13 current Hall of Fame players at this position is 55.0. At age 35 and with least two more years guaranteed with the Rangers, so long as he continues to maintain his average OPS+ of 136 and raises his WAR another ten points, his chances should improve greatly.
Adrian Beltre’s time with the Red Sox proved brief, but that year was just a microcosm of what has been a truly remarkable baseball career, one that someday should culminate into election to the Hall of Fame.