Carlos Beltran: Hall of Famer?
On Friday June 15, 2012, Carlos Beltran made history when he swiped second base against his first team (Royals). That gave him 300 stolen bases for his career. Also, he currently sits at 321 career HRs, which makes him one of only eight members in MLB’s 300/300 Club (Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Steve Finley and Reggie Sanders being the others) and the only switch-hitter on the list.
When players join such an exclusive club, it makes people begin to discuss their Hall of Fame worthiness. Here are my arguments for why Beltran SHOULD be a Hall of Famer once he retires:
1. Player Comparisons
At this point in his career (age 34), Beltran’s numbers compare closely to two Hall of Famers: Andre Dawson and Dave Winfield. If he stays healthy, his complete career stats could surpass both of them.
2. More to Offer
His injury issues over the past few seasons have led some to believe that Beltran’s best years are far behind him. However, this season, he is projected to go .309/47/118, which would be career highs in HRs and RBIs while having his second highest batting average of his career. If this turnaround continues, he could reach 400+ HRs and 350+ SBs for his career.
3. Clutch Postseason Performance
He is .366/11/19 in the Postseason, and he has only been there twice (22 games). This includes his 2004 postseason HR barrage against the Braves and Cardinals where he hit eight HRs in 12 games.
4. Production when Healthy
From 2009-2011, he missed 199 games due to injuries and scheduled rest. By looking at age, those are supposed to be Beltran’s peak performance years. It is safe to say that his career numbers would be even more impressive if he had been able to stay in the lineup during those important years.
Here is a breakdown of what he has accomplished in his career thus far: 321 HRs, 300 SBs, 1999 AL ROY, six-time AS, three-time Gold Glover and two-time Silver Slugger. With how he is currently playing, he may be adding even more trophies to the mantle this season.
Arguably, he is the most complete (tools-wise) switch hitter in MLB History.
That’s my take, but I want to hear from you! Do you think Carlos Beltran will eventually be a Hall of Famer? The debate gauntlet has been thrown down, so tweet me @KyleOKC and @MLBFanCave with your opinion.