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A Closer Look: Red Sox Third Baseman Adrian Beltre

The Red Sox signed Adrian Beltre to play third base last offseason, and I was high on him coming into the 2010 season. I felt that he could go 25-90 and stated so in our pre-season rankings. I am not tooting my horn here, because I get alot wrong as well (David Wright comes to mind). Beltre is on a free agent year tear this season as he is hitting .335-.372-.564 with 19 HRs and 71 RBIs. How is he doing it?

Well, Beltre has benefitted from a career high .356 BABIP and a terrific ISO of .229. He isn't walking or striking out anymore than he has in the past either. He has also benefitted from in increased LD% of 22% vs a career LD% of 19%, and a reduced GB% of 40% vs 45% in 2009. After an injury-filled 2009 season, Beltre has stayed healthy, and his HR/FB% is back to 14.6% VS 5.6%  in 2009.

Beltre's plate discipline is a bit worse than in 2009 though, as he is swinging at 40% of balls outside the zone vs 36% in 2009, but making contact on 72% of those balls vs 58% in 2009. He is also making more contact on balls in the zone as well-88% vs 86% in 2009.

I am curious if Beltre has found a new home in Boston, or if he is just on another monster season in his walk year. Beltre will probably test free agency since his agent is Scott Boras, but if he returns to the solid Red Sox lineup, he could provide solid power stats as he is still just 31 years old. Yes, he's only 31 years old, a time when many hitters are peaking in terms of power.