Monday, March 17, 2008

Fantasy Plus: Adrian Beltre

Next up in the Fantasy Plus series, is 3B Adrian Beltre.

Beltre is generally a slow first-half player and doesn't get going at the plate until after the All-Star break. He has managed 20-plus homers and 80-plus RBI for two straight seasons, though, making him a decent low-end No. 1 Fantasy 3B.

Beltre seems like he's been around forever, but he's only 27 years old, has a boatload of natural ability, and is far from washed up. He's not likely to ever reproduce the numbers he put up in his contract year as a Dodger in 2004, but that doesn't preclude him from being a serviceable option for your fantasy squad if you don't own one of the elite at third base. Those suffering from the struggles of Morgan Ensberg, the inconsistency of Aramis Ramirez, or the injuries of Melvin Mora should look into his availability.

Last season, Beltre set a career high in doubles and posted homer and RBI totals that were second only to the marks from his freakish 2004 campaign. In fact, with the exception of '04, Beltre has been one of the most consistent producers at his position, and he's still shy of his 29th birthday. Beltre slugged 100 points higher on the road (.533) than at Safeco Field (.430) last season, so he likely would benefit from a move to a more hitter-friendly venue. Nonetheless, he should deliver plenty of help with his usual across-the-board production in '08.
My Analysis
Adrian Beltre has been a quality fantasy third baseman during his Mariners career. I think that most of us can come to the reality that Beltre won't return to his 2004 LA Dodger form, but he's been a solid player. He's a steady producer in all stat categories. He's topped 20 HR and 80 RBI in each of the last couple seasons. He's been passed by many, but he's usually around in rounds 10-12, and should be picked up. He's no Alex Rodriguez, but after him and Mike Lowell, there's not much, other than a few fantasy bench players at best.

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