Saturday, February 02, 2013

Adrain Beltre - a product of his environment

Adrian Beltre will be heading into his Age 34 season with fifteen years already accumulated in his Major League Baseball career. Since his first (partial) season was at age 19, it seems like Beltre has been around forever. And Beltre has a chance to put up the kind of counting stats that will guarantee him a spot in the Hall of Fame, especially when you combine his fielding stats. But if you look at Beltre's career, his numbers have fluctuated greatly from season to season. Mariners fans have to be looking at what Beltre has done over his last three seasons and wonder what the heck happened. And Beltre had that one big year for the Dodgers and several not so big years there. Park effect has really been a factor in Beltre's career.

Where Beltre currently plays his home games is good news for him when it comes to piling on the rest of his counting stats because it is such a good hitters' park. For example, in his two seasons there, Beltre has a triple slash line at Ameriquest Field of .328/.369/.608. Yes, those numbers are pretty. But Beltre spent the bulk of his career playing his home games in Seattle and Los Angeles. Here are his slash lines in those two parks compared to his career line:

  • Dodger Stadium: .253/.316/.423
  • Safeco Field: .252/304/.411
  • Career Stats: .280/.331/.476

It becomes really obvious that all those games in those two ballparks had a severe impact on Beltre's career. Out of curiosity, I wanted to get rid of the stats in all three of his home ballparks to see if that could gives me some insight of what kind of offensive player Beltre really is. I realize that other stats already do this such as wRC+ and OPS+ for example. But I wanted more organic counting stats to see the difference.

So what I did was to take his career stats and subtracted all the stats from Dodger Stadium, Safeco Field and even Ameriquest since that park has inflated his stats a bit the last two seasons. I did not bother with his one season in Boston. So taking out those three parks, the rest of the stats give him a career triple slash line of .292/.340/.496. This, to me, gives a truer picture of the kind of offensive player that Beltre has been. Sure, I know these are sloppy stats because all the rest of his non-home stats have come in all kinds of different parks and conditions and I am no mathematician. But I do believe that this triple slash line gives a better picture.

If you take the triple slash line of his non-home stats and use those numbers for his whole career, Beltre would have 96 more hits than his 2,227. He would have 51 more doubles than his current 463. He would have fifteen more triples than his career 30. Surprisingly, the home run total works out almost the same and his walk and HBP totals go down. Here is a picture of my spreadsheet. Click on it to make it larger.

Now I realize that Beltre's career will be measured without any of this hoopla. And heck, he is already rated according to JAWS as the twelfth best third baseman ever. And that is only going to rise the longer he plays. Beltre seems destined for the Hall of Fame no matter what his numbers were in LA and Seattle. I just feel that those two parks dragged him down to make that HOF vote a little less than a slam dunk years from now. The odds are good that he will reach 3,000 hits, 450 homers and 1500 runs batted in if he plays five more seasons. 

In other words, the combination of his offense and defense will give him a ticket. They just might have been a little prettier if he hadn't had all those plate appearances in those two unforgiving offensive ballparks.

No comments: