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Player Profile: Adrian Beltre

After hitting 19 homer runs last year, I’m buying in again.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Beltre is just plain good. He’s posted over line drive rates over 20% in the past 3 years. Last season his infield fly percentage was a minuscule 2.3%, along with a K rate of only 12.1% and a walk rate of 9.3%.

What Adrian Beltre does to make himself so valuable yearly is he minimizes risk for a fantasy owner. When you put so many balls in play, and have at least modest power, you’re bound to find some holes and get production. Then you have to add that he’s spraying balls in all directions, and you realize hits are coming. Check out this exquisite beauty of a spray chart.

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Grounders, line drives, fly balls, and home runs in every direction, and that was last year, in a down year…

So now lets look at his steamer projections.

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

80

24

93

1

.297

.353

.481

.834

Those are factoring in an aging curve, and his down year, and they look pretty darn good to me. He also had the 102nd best home run and fly ball distance in the MLB (284.52), which I think wont change much up or down next season.

Beltre has consistently been a free swinger, who makes more contact than the rest of the league. Last season his 84.7% contact rate was much higher than the 79.7 league average, and his 7.3% swinging strike rate, was significantly better than the 9.4% league average. Hitting simply isn’t as hard for him as it is for most others.

Then you look at his slowly improving babip over the past few years, .319+ over the past 3 years. It’s not due to him magically becoming luckier over the past 3 seasons, he has hit more line drives, and ground balls, resulting in more hits, and it’s a trend that fantasy owners should approve of.

There are a million ways to break this down, but the guy is just good.

Courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net

Those whiff rates say it all for me, the guy is simply born to hit baseballs, think about this, he has swung at 710 middle height inside pitches since 2007, he’s only missed 29, that’s 4 whiffs a year in that part of the strike zone. Now here is the reason I wrote about him, his NFBC draft position is 31.6. So you can pair him with any superstar, in every league short of 16+ team leagues. This year, when some owners may shy away from an older player like Beltre. Don’t be that owner, everything he’s done recently says he’s going to age gracefully. So in 2015, draft confidently, and enjoy the beauty of consistency.